Student Wellbeing

This term, Student Wellbeing has developed a range of new resources to support students while they are studying at university:

Student Wellbeing blog:  Did you know that the counselling and wellbeing service now has its own dedicated blog – written by the counsellors?  Recent blogs include:  Making the most of your Christmas break;  What is this mysterious thing called mindfulness?;  Choosing your student house;  Can’t get started?  Always finding other things that need doing;  Tired of being tired?   A link to the blog is also on the Counselling homepage.

New Web resources:  In addition to advice on making appointment, talks and events and leaflets, there are now specific pages with information to enhance student wellbeing and personal development. Subjects covered include:

  • Building your confidence and resilience
  • Healthy living- healthy mind
  • How things work : living and studying in the UK – information for international students
  • Information about upcoming Life Tools talks.

There is also a section on the web pages entitled ‘ Frequently Asked Questions’ which provides comprehensive information for students about seeing a counsellor or mental health advisor, about appointments and the issues that the team can help with.

Blackboard:  The counselling and wellbeing service now has an extensive range of resources on its Blackboard site – with links to other reliable sources of information and advice.  Students are not automatically enrolled on the Counselling blackboard site – but it is easy to do this.  Once enrolled, students will also receive information about the ‘Life Tools’ talks which are taking place most weeks during term time.

Life Tools talks:  The ‘Life Tools’ talks programme this term has been attracting record numbers with large numbers of students attending the new ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’ and ‘Overcoming Perfectionism’ talks.  For those students interested in Mindfulness, we will be repeating these ‘Mindfulness’ talks next term in January and February.  Other new talks we are offering next term include:  “Improving memory and concentration”, “ and “Resolving conflicts and building better relationships”.  Talks are open to all, free to attend and count as part of the training element in the Red Award.



Supporting student mental health

The University counselling and wellbeing service offers short-term confidential support free of charge for all currently registered students. The support is provided through a variety of options including one-to one sessions with a counsellor or mental health advisor. All of the counsellors and mental health advisors are experienced, qualified professionals with backgrounds in counselling, psychology and mental health social work –

The service also provides email advice and support, and self-help leaflets with advice on dealing with a range of issues including depression and managing anxiety, as well as the life tools talks programme which include training to support wellbeing and develop resilience.

This term’s the University wellbeing’s activities include: life tools talks on getting a good night’s sleep and achieving your potential; basic tai chi for wellbeing; a mindfulness walk by the chaplaincy; weekly bread-making workshops at the chaplaincy; and advice on managing exam pressure. Some of the study advice sessions are also helpful.

Alongside these core wellbeing functions the counselling and wellbeing service trains students to act as peer supporters to provide guidance, signposting and lend a sympathetic ear to their fellow students. The counselling and wellbeing service works with colleagues across the University to provide training and support to groups such as the wardens, personal tutors and other front-line staff. The Counselling and Wellbeing Service also liaises with external agencies to provide a link between University and Primary and Secondary health care.


Wellbeing and Work Life Balance



Roberta Gilchrist (Head of School) highlighted both of these recent articles:


‘Tips on looking after your mental health as a PhD student’ by Holly Else (Times Higher 13th November 2014)

Learn to recognise and respond to signs of depression and stress – ‘A PhD can sound like a great career move: it challenges the intellect, expands horizons, boosts a CV and offers flexible working hours. But for some the nature of the work involved can take a toll on their mental health.’









‘Clocking off’ by Patience Schell (Times Higher)

‘Work need not – should not – be all consuming. Long hours hurt productivity, while leisure improves health and sharpens minds’

Five alive: scholarly ways to well-being

Patience Schell adapts the New Economics Foundation’s evidence-based “Five Ways to Well-being” for academic lives

Cultivate your human relationships at work. Invite a colleague for coffee. Walk down the hall and knock on a door instead of sending an email.

Be active
When a problem’s got you stuck, walk to the library to return those books, explore an unknown street, find your own “Sandwalk”. Give your mind the time to be carried by your body and roam free.

Take notice
Be mindful, look around, be in the moment and be aware. Be with your students as they learn. Be in the moment with your research, even when it’s frustrating. We’re so lucky that our field allows us to follow our curiosity.

Keep learning
Here again, we are lucky. Each time we redesign our courses, each time we approach a new aspect of our research, each time we’re given a new administrative task, we have an opportunity to learn, which is vital to our brain’s health and our well-being.

Be generous with your time. We are generous every time we help junior colleagues and students, create a postgraduate support group or work for our profession.

Do you have any tips?  Is there any additional support that could be offered to staff and students? Do you feel you have a good work life balance?  Could it be improved?…………..