Resolve conflicts and build better relationships

This week ‘Life Tools’ programme includes two talks:  ‘Resolve conflicts and build better relationships’ will teach techniques and skills to manage difficult conversations more effectively which will, in turn, enable those attending to manage relationships that are important in a constructive manner.  The talk will be on Thursday 11th February at 4.00pm in Palmer room 105. 

All are welcome at this talk which is suitable for students at all levels of study.  This is also a subject area which is particularly relevant to students living in shared accommodation who want to get on well with housemates as well as those graduating this year who would want to show any future employer their commitment to understanding/listening to the views of colleagues.

Here are a few of the comments from students who previously attended this talk:


“A very valuable talk”

“You can apply the information in many situations”

“Very interesting and useful and helps to understand difficult situations better – and handle them better”

“Useful and informative”


On the same day, at lunchtime, there is also an introductory presentation from Counselling & Wellbeing on ways to manage when you feel anxious or stressed.  The short presentation (30 minutes) will be at 1.00pm in Palmer 105 on Thursday 11 February 2016.  This talk is open to all students and is particularly relevant for anyone who wishes to be proactive in getting support and advice or who is thinking about seeing a counsellor or mental health advisor.

There is no need to book a place for either talk – students should just turn up on the day. 




Time to Talk

Yesterday was “Time to Talk” day and Student Wellbeing’s Peer Supporters were talking with many students in the Students Union and asking them to make a pledge to help end mental health stigma and discriminationWhen it comes to mental health, small things really can make a difference.  Listening and simply being there for someone else, showing you care and keeping in touch can help provide support to friends when they are feeling low. 

Here are just a few of the pledges that Reading University students wrote down.  Thank you to all those who stopped to talk;  we really appreciated your time and pledges: 


‘If I see someone with a mental illness getting bullied on social networks or anywhere else – I will personally step in and defend them’

‘I will listen to other people’s feelings because they are important’

‘I will talk more openly about my experiences to help others too’

‘I will be slower to judge and quicker to support’

‘I will make time to allow friends to discuss worries, anxieties and celebrate successes’


Best wishes

Counselling & Wellbeing Team



Time to Talk Day

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.  Both change throughout our lives.  And, like our bodies, our minds can become unwell.

Mental health problems might actually be more common than you think.  One in four of us will be affected by mental illness in any year.  The effects are as real as a broken arm, even though there isn’t a sling or plaster cast to show for it.  This year, as part of the ‘Time to Change’ campaign to end mental health discrimination, the Counselling and Wellbeing Team would like to encourage you all to ‘do something small to make a big difference’.  It is easy to do this:


  • Don’t just talk:   listen to your friends and colleagues:  Asking a simple question such as ‘how are you feeling’ or ‘are you ok’ and taking time to really listen to the answer can make a real difference;
  • Show that you care:  do something without being asked– make a cup of tea; do  the washing up; or just send a text to ‘check in’ with your friends and let them know you care about them;
  • Make a pledge via the Peer Support stand in RUSU between 12 and 2 on Thursday 4th February – ‘Time to Talk day’


When it comes to mental health, being open about it makes life better for us all.  Help to change negative attitudes and challenge stigma by getting involved.


Ten tips to help you pass your PhD viva

Published on 1st February 2016 in the Times Higher, Heriot-Watt University Professor Kevin O’Gorman offers some advice to those preparing for their viva  –

‘The examiners are there to listen to you. It’s probably the last and often the only time that two senior academics, respected in the field, are going to concentrate solely on your work. This is a PhD exam, conducted by two people with nothing else to do but listen to you…………………..’

Read the full article to learn more.  What advice do you have?