May 2017

Don't suffer in silence this exam season, urges UCB's Health & Wellbeing team

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With 92% of UK students saying they have had feelings of mental distress, UCB’s Health & Wellbeing team is urging students not to suffer in silence this exam season. 

Mental Health & Wellbeing Adviser Stevie Symes said: “According to a survey by the National Union of Students (NUS), 66% of students asked reported feeling low in mood during their studies. 

“During exam season, stress is obviously heightened and student’s wellbeing can suffer. We urge students to come and have a confidential conversation with us if they’re struggling, whether that’s because they can’t sleep or are experiencing suicidal thoughts. If staff are struggling, they are welcome to talk to us too.” 

The advice comes on the back of UCB’s ‘Surviving or Thriving’ themed Health and Wellbeing Fayre at McIntyre House this month, where students and staff could find out how to maintain good mental and physical wellbeing, and where to get support.  

As well as members of staff from Student Services, representatives from a number of different organisations including PAPYRUS – the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide - were on hand to offer advice, with workshops and giveaways designed for everyone at UCB. 

The idea was to encourage “open and honest” conversation,” said Stevie. 

“If people are made aware of the warning signs of poor mental health, and are encouraged to take steps to improve their own happiness and learn about strategies to enable them to cope if they feel they are struggling, then their chances of beating mental health difficulties or preventing them altogether are much higher,” she said. 

Due to increased demand, UCB’s confidential health and wellbeing service has recently expanded. The service now consists of a nurse, two counsellors, a Mental Health & Wellbeing Adviser and Student Services Officer for Health & Wellbeing. 

“It’s not totally clear why demand nationally has risen so much,” said Stevie. “It could be that students and staff are starting to feel more comfortable about coming forward for help, but it could relate to the increasing pressures of modern life. 

“The challenge is that people most commonly seek support only when they feel they are at breaking point, so there is still much more to be done. 

“Ultimately, we want to encourage people to live healthy, happy lives and to feel able to seek help when they need to, without the stigma.” 

*If you would like to book an appointment with Stevie, a counsellor or the University nurse, either drop into Student Services on the 7th floor of our Summer Row Campus, book one online via the student portal or call extension 2220. 

For more information, visit the Health and Wellbeing section of our website. 

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