Saturday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, and whilst it offers a great opportunity to highlight our mental health it is not simply a one-day event.
The world is experiencing the unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to COVID-19 that has also impacted on the mental health of millions of people. With so much uncertainty about the months to come, we would like to focus about the things we can manage, not only practically in taking steps to protect ourselves and one another, but also creating a culture of care at our University.
Our self-awareness and sensitivity towards mental health has changed for the better, we have learned a lot. This awareness gives us the opportunity to focus on the things we can do to support and manage our mental health and wellbeing and that of our colleagues, friends and families during such times.
Extensive evidence shows that having good-quality relationships and connecting with others is a key attribute for our mental health. Despite physical distancing which we all must observe, we need to adapt to new ways to manage and nurture our relationships, as they are especially important for getting us through this difficult time.
Strong family ties, friendships, meaningful connections and involvement in social activities can increase our sense of security and self-esteem and provide a psychological buffer against stress, anxiety and depression.
I wanted to remind you of a few of the opportunities available to both staff and students to keep in touch, talk and connect with others, these include:
- You can contact one of our volunteer Wellbeing Champions who can talk about and share relevant resources and services with you. Also, if you are interested in finding out more or joining this network please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as we are currently recruiting more volunteers.
- Our network of Coaches come from a wide range of roles across the University. Engaging in a coaching conversation can give you the opportunity to take a breath in a safe and supportive environment and explore practical steps for ways forward. You can also book a mini coaching session, these are flexible and tailored to support your needs.
- The University provides a free and confidential counselling service Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for staff, which is now available remotely.
- The Education Support Partnership is a 24/7 telephone support line which gives teachers access to professional coaches and counsellors 365 days a year.
- Students can take part in Be Well Week from 12-16 October to connect with others and find out more about support and wellbeing at the university. The week is full of tasters and events to promote wellbeing, many of which students can continue throughout the year.
- Next week Student Services launch Be Well-Talk Now, a new 24 hour support service in addition to our existing on campus services. Talk Now is a confidential service that gives free immediate advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This service has been developed in response to student requests for greater out-of-hours support, support in multiple languages and support from trained advisors from diverse backgrounds. This is a positive step in providing flexible support to our student when they need it and is accessible through phone, live chat and video call.
- Students can also take part in a number of initiatives to support their mental health and wellbeing throughout the year including: workshops and courses, podcasts, Read Well and self-help resources.
- Nightline Service - you can talk confidentially about a range of issues whether you are experiencing homesickness, loneliness etc http://bath.nightline.ac.uk/
- Student Minds is a national charity specifically designed to help students with mental health problems, and The SU, University of Bath, has its own Student Minds group which run a range of sessions delivered by trained facilitators, including Look After Your Mate Training. This provides tips and tools of how you can help a friend in need. https://www.thesubath.com/student-minds/