Starting university or returning to campus after the pandemic can bring with it new feelings and emotions. These feelings can affect your Wellbeing. In this instance wellbeing compasses your mental health, psychical health, emotional and spiritual health. A person’s wellbeing can deteriorate if they are anxious, upset, angry and/or lonely. These natural emotions can be overcome with pastoral support, and do not usually require medical intervention.
The purpose of World Mental Health Day is to cultivate good mental health and raise awareness of mental illness and treatments. Moreover, everyone’s mental health lies on a spectrum, and it is not as black and white as having good or bad mental health. Mental illness is different from mental health and wellbeing. In other words it is an illness that requires medication and a tailored treatment plan.
Why is this important?
It is important to raise awareness of mental illness to help people get the help they need to prevent crisis points. Moreover we need to encourage people to keep mentally well. In addition sustaining your mental health and wellbeing is important during periods of big change such as but not limited to starting university.
By maintaining a good support network and relationships including with friends and chosen family can help with decision making and feeling safe improving your wellbeing. In addition completing small acts of kindness as well as practising gratitude can help boost your mental health. Therefore helping you to appreciate the small things in everyday life. Similarly keeping active is beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing as it can improve mental alertness and energy levels.
What about student mental health?
Endsleigh, in partnership with the National Union of Students (NUS), created their first Student Happiness Index Report. They found that 40% of undergraduate students studying in the 20/21 academic year said they were unhappy and 21% said they were pessimistic about life after university. Following its publication, we wanted to provide Strathclyde students with tips when you may feel your mental health is not 100%.
What resources are available?
Remembering to look out for your own mental health is vital as it can impact your overall health. There are a variety of online resources where you can find information on how to improve your mental health and wellbeing. We’ve collected 10 and listed them below.
The Scottish Association for Mental Health has been active since 1923 influencing positive social change. They have a range of guides which you can access for free online here. Examples include how to improve your mental health and wellbeing and coping with student life.
#2: Disability and Wellbeing Services
The University’s Disability and Wellbeing services have a range of guides and external resources focused on mental health and wellbeing. These can all be found here and offer support for exam stress, self-esteem and low mood among other things. They offer bookable wellbeing programmes, guides and e-learning packages which can all be found here.
#3: NHS Inform
NHS Inform has a Mental Health and Wellbeing Zone providing quality-assured information on different aspects of mental health and wellbeing. This includes self-help guides available for free online using CBT techniques.
#4: Young Minds
Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health. They provide tailored resources for young people focusing on feelings, coping strategies and tips for supporting friends. They also have information for people supporting you on their website.
#5: Royal College of Psychiatrists
Royal College of Psychiatrists have a series of user-friendly and accurate resources about mental health and wellbeing for young people.
#6: Scottish Recovery Network
Scottish Recovery Network promotes and supports mental health recovery. Their vision is to make Scotland a place where people expect mental health recovery and are supported at all stages of their journey.
MoodGYM is an interactive self-help book teaching CBT skills to anyone who is vulnerable to depression and anxiety. Check out their FAQs for any important information you need.
Living Life to the Full teaches a range of life skills based upon the CBT approach through structured courses. You can access free worksheets from the courses here. They have a blog that features articles on various topics under the umbrella of mental health and wellbeing.
#9: Be Mindful
Be Mindful is an NHS-approved course and is part of the Wellmind Health family of digital courses. You can get a taste of the course by registering for the free introduction here.
#10: Strath Union’s Hear to Listen
This project was started after identifying a gap in the current wellbeing support at Strathclyde. The premise of Hear to Listen is offering pastoral support providing a safe space and a listening ear to students who need it. With trained Volunteer Listeners ready to signpost students to other services available as appropriate. You can find more information on the project here.
This is just a small number of the online resources right at your fingertips whenever you need help. The Strath Union Advice Hub has a dedicated page on Mental Health and Wellbeing support page you can visit it here. Please be kind to yourself, remember you deserve support if you aren’t feeling your best and don’t be afraid to reach out.
Written by student journalist Emily