Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

12th May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is 'kindness'. Your VP Welfare Katy Baker will be hosting online events everyday this week to help celebrate and encourage conversations about mental health. 

Date  Time Event Platform
Monday 18th May 12:00pm What is Mental Health? - Video Facebook
Tuesday 19th May  12pm - 1pm Mental Health Q&A
Mental Health Quiz
Wednesday 20th May 2pm Random acts of Kindness Photos Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Thursday 21st May 2pm-4pm Mental Health Drop-in Zoom
Friday 22nd May 12pm Different Types of Help for Mental Health - Video Facebook

Mental Health Video Transcript 

To view the video transcript please click here

Different types of help – Mental Health

There are many different treatments and ways to manage your mental health. Treatment can depend on a whether you have a diagnosis of a mental health condition or whether you are aware that you are struggling but don’t think seeking medical help is right for you.

Treatment for people with a diagnosis of a mental health condition can vary massively. For some people, medication is the best route to go down but again this really varies because there are lots of different types of medication. With medication it is really important to speak to a doctor and make sure you are taking the right medication for you as they can affect people differently.  Aside from medication, there are different types of therapy which can sometimes help people, these include:

Counselling – The purpose of counselling is talking to a professional in confidence so they can help you find ways to deal with difficulties going on in your life. Counselling may be offered on the NHS however some people pay for sessions if they feel they need some support without going through a medical professional first.  Counselling can help people manage a mental health condition such as depression but also difficult situations such as a life event and low self-esteem. Counselling can be carried out face-to-face, in a group, over the phone or virtually.

CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy): the aim of CBT is to explore and change how you think about things and get out of unhelpful patterns of behaviour. CBT has been used to treat mental health conditions such as depression, panic attacks and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). CBT can be carried out face-to-face, virtually or using an online programme such as Silvercloud. Some people who undergo CBT are referred by their doctor, some pay for the service and some use an online platform.
Guided self-help: This is encouraged for people who experience depression, anxiety and panic disorder. Examples of guided self-help are a workbook or online courses with the aim of providing you with tools and techniques to use when the course has finished. Along with guided self-help, a therapist would support you through this.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR): This is a talking therapy which has been developed to support people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). People with PTSD may experience flashbacks and intrusive thoughts through one or a series of traumatic experiences, EMDR helps the brain to reprocess these thoughts so a person can let go of them. 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present and focus on thoughts and feelings as they happen, it can be used to help mange anxiety and depression. Mindfulness therapy combines mindfulness techniques e.g meditation with breathing exercises with cognitive therapy. There is a difference between mindfulness and MBCT however both can be carried out in different ways such as a guided self-help and group sessions.

Mindfulness activities: Mindfulness is all about stopping what we are doing and living in the present moment. It is important to focus on the thoughts and feelings we are having but also how our behaviour is driving those thoughts and feelings.  Mindfulness can help mental health because you are taking time to take things in around you and understand ourselves better. Being aware of how we are feeling e.g if are aware that we are feeling anxious or low, there is more of a chance that we are able to do something about this before it gets worse. 

You can practice mindfulness in different ways including: colouring, yoga, exercise e.g going for a run, meditation, breathing exercises. Anything which makes you stop what you are doing and makes you focus on the present and be aware of how you are feeling.

For Mental Health support contact details please click here.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.

For the Students' Union contact details please click here. 


Mental Health and Covid-19

We are now in week 8 of Covid-19 restrictions and we have been faced with so much uncertainty. We are all riding the same wave with every different barriers. Some people are home-schooling children, some are having to shield or self-isolate, some are working from home and others are finding ways to keep busy during an uncertain time. We now have some new rules which are exciting for some but overwhelming for others.

Now we are allowed to go out for unlimited exercise and meet one person outside of your household. This sounds like a lot of freedom compared to lockdown however people are now having to adapt to going back to work, going outside more and getting back in to the ‘normal’ routine. There has been so much change in the last couple of months and you may be feeling nervous to adapt to more change albeit gradually getting back to what we have been used too. It is totally normal if you are feeling anxious about going outside or venturing further a field for your daily exercise, it is something your brain isn’t used to and when that happens, you can start to get irrational thoughts; thinking about what could go wrong or panicking about a situation. 

If you are anxious about getting out and about again, it may help to set yourself targets each day or a couple of times a week and then make the targets more difficult as time goes on. Celebrating the wins is really important too!

Since being at home, you have probably been on their phone more and using technology more to stay connected with loved ones. The daily news on covid19 has attracted millions of people, watching and listening out for any changes. Listening to it too much and seeing posts about it on social media can sometimes heighten someone’s anxiety around the situation. There is a fine balance between being well informed but listening too much to it. If you feel that listening to news and information and covid19 anxiety provoking, it is ok to stay away from it. 

Social media pressure is also a very real topic at the moment. Doing things at your own speed it so important. It is important to stay informed but look after your wellbeing at the same time. Don’t feel pressured to go straight out of the house and meet someone outside of your household, don’t feel pressured to go for a long hike, don’t feel pressured to get all of your household jobs done just because you are stay in, don’t feel pressured to say you have adapted really well in to this ‘new normal’ if you haven’t. It is ok to slow down and reach out for help during these uncertain times.

The Mental Health Foundation have explained some ways to nurture and maintain healthy relationships, they are:

    Give time - put more time aside to connect with your friends and family
•    Be present - this means really paying attention to the other people in your life and trying not to be distracted by your phone or your work or other interests
•    Listen - really listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and to focus on their needs in that moment
•    Let yourself be listened to - honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others
•    Recognise unhealthy relationships - harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognising this can help us to move forward and find solutions

These factors are important regardless of the Covid19 pandemic but being in lockdown and many people being alone or feeling isolated, it makes it even more important to support one another and recognise when someone might benefit from additional support.

Your VP Welfare Katy is avaliable to contact via email at [email protected]