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University Mental Health Awareness Day 2016 (Thurs 3rd March): Heads Together Watch

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    Helloooooooo peeps :hi:

    At the request of TSR CT, wise old sage TLG is back again to educate you all on mental health and get some conversations going :shakecane: :ahee: :smartass: This time it's to raise awareness of University Mental Health Awareness Day 2016, which - this year - takes place on Thursday 3rd March:
    http://www.umhan.com/university-ment...-day-2016.html :yep: (A word of warning about this link: it caused lots of pop-ups to appear on my computer :eek: But do have a read if you have a good pop-up blocker :yes: )

    The theme this year is 'Heads Together': acknowledging that we all have mental health (NOT mental health problems per se but just mental health, which is also referred to sometimes as emotional health or mental/emotional wellbeing) and thus we ALL need to be proactive in nurturing good mental health on our university campuses! :grouphugs:

    There will be various conversations happening across TSR - this is just one of many - so do check out the other conversations! When I see other threads up and running, I will try and link them in this OP :yep: Whilst my thread is primarily aimed at those who have experience of university (either as a current student or alumnus/a), SENSIBLE contribution is welcome from anyone of any age or level of study! Spam or abuse will NOT be tolerated :security:

    Here is Deyesy's mega-thread: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...php?p=63149045

    Here is She-Ra's thread on universities telling TSR what provisions they have for students with mental health problems: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post63156953



    NB. For those of you who have not seen my other threads/who don't know me: hi and welcome! I'm a mentally disabled (schizoaffective disorder, depressive type) PhD student at the University of London. My mental health blew up catastrophically whilst I was an undergrad at the University of Oxford, and sadly I have never quite recovered :sad: I have experience of mental health provision (or lack of) at three different universities.

    This thread is for general interest and to raise awareness - I am not able to provide tailored or medical support, since I am not a doctor!Reading this thread is NOT a substitute for appropriate medical/pharmacalogical/
    psychological interventions administered by those with appropriate training.



    A few questions to get us all started

    1. What does good mental health look/feel like?

    2. What might be signs that you (general use of the word you) are starting to develop poor mental health at university?

    3. Do you know who to turn to, should you or a friend start to develop poor mental health whilst attending university?

    4. What happens if the support I initially access is not enough/the support is not good or helpful support?

    (I will write my own thoughts on the above four questions in due course.)

    Thanks for reading and/or contributing! Let the fun begin
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    Oooh, I love this raising awareness thing. I'm going to answer your questions because I think they're important.

    (For people who don't know me: my mental health went rapidly downhill at some point between my AS and A2 year of study. In my AS year I was fine and attending classes without a problem, but when I returned to sixth form for my second year some symptoms I had noticed over the summer really started to affect me. I ended up having to keep leaving classes until I eventually informed my college that I would be studying from home until my exams. I became afraid of travelling alone and generally being alone. I was diagnosed with anxiety and agoraphobia. Although I managed to begin my studies at the University of Cambridge I lasted only 6 weeks there. I feel that I might have lasted longer had I known more about mental health in general as well as the help that I was entitled to. I'm currently waiting to go back to university level study. The recovery road can be a long one.)

    1. What does good mental health look/feel like?

    Speaking only from my experience with anxiety and how it makes me feel, I think that good mental health means being able to live life without feeling as though something is clouding everything you do. Just yesterday I forced myself to go out and I was standing waiting for a bus thinking about how much effort it took for me just to stand still and wait. I generally feel tense and shaky and my head races and I go faint/dizzy and it's such a lot of work doing something that, until I was 18, I took for granted as a mundane life activity. I feel as though good mental health means that your emotions change depending on the situation you're in - they're simply a response to what you're experiencing at the moment. When you have mental health issues one or two emotions come to the fore and cloud everything. It becomes difficult to feel simply bored or excited or sad or nervous because anxiety and/or depression are outweighing any other response you have to a situation.

    2. What might be signs that you (general use of the word you) are starting to develop poor mental health at university?

    Skipping classes. Leaving classes early. Avoiding socialising. Setting yourself lower standards than usual (or setting yourself higher standards than usual).

    3. Do you know who to turn to, should you or a friend start to develop poor mental health whilst attending university?

    I turned to my tutor at university, who put me in touch with the college counsellor. If I were in the same position now I would go to the disability office. At the time I didn't realise that mental health problems meant that I could access the disability service (and nobody told me, which is irresponsible - I hope things have changed now). The disability service doesn't just talk to you, they can put things in place that make it possible for you to study while you're ill. I think that makes a big difference. I tried to cope alone and then burnt out in the worst way possible (I still don't remember much about the couple of years after I left Cambridge - my head was in such a fuzz). You don't have to cope alone, you don't have to pretend you're well in order to continue studying, and you are entitled to time out if you need it.

    When a friend at another university was suffering from a relapse of her ED I was really concerned about her and contacted the disability service at her university (which she was in contact with already - I contacted them to make sure they were keeping an eye on her, and to inform them of things she had been saying that meant she might be in danger). It's confidential if you contact a support service on behalf of someone and it can be really helpful as the people helping someone might not always be aware of how bad their situation has got. If your friend is having problems and they're not already in contact with someone, you can obviously just advise them to speak to their tutor or the mental health/disability services at the uni.

    4. What happens if the support I initially access is not enough/the support is not good or helpful support?

    Kind of covered above - if you're not already accessing the full disability service, make use of it. Or see your GP. But definitely acknowledge that it isn't working and tell somebody rather than continuing to suffer. It can only be fixed if somebody knows it's broken.
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    (Original post by mscaffrey)
    Oooh, I love this raising awareness thing. I'm going to answer your questions because I think they're important.
    Thanks SO much for being brave and open enough to write about your own experiences! :lovehug:

    My laptop has decided it hates TSR again :sigh: Will try and respond properly later!

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    I should add that tomorrow I will be on campus so will not be able to reply much til evening

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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    .
    People underestimate the effects of sleep on their health, both physical and mental. This also goes both ways, a symptom of depression is fatigue and bad quality sleep.
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    (Original post by balanced)
    People underestimate the effects of sleep on their health, both physical and mental. This also goes both ways, a symptom of depression is fatigue and bad quality sleep.
    Thanks for checking out the thread and contributing! Tiz very true that sleep is important :yep:

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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Helloooooooo peeps :hi:

    At the request of TSR CT, wise old sage TLG is back again to educate you all on mental health and get some conversations going :shakecane: :ahee: :smartass: This time it's to raise awareness of University Mental Health Awareness Day 2016, which - this year - takes place on Thursday 3rd March:
    http://www.umhan.com/university-ment...-day-2016.html :yep: (A word of warning about this link: it caused lots of pop-ups to appear on my computer :eek: But do have a read if you have a good pop-up blocker :yes: )

    The theme this year is 'Heads Together': acknowledging that we all have mental health (NOT mental health problems per se but just mental health, which is also referred to sometimes as emotional health or mental/emotional wellbeing) and thus we ALL need to be proactive in nurturing good mental health on our university campuses! :grouphugs:

    There will be various conversations happening across TSR - this is just one of many - so do check out the other conversations! When I see other threads up and running, I will try and link them in this OP :yep: Whilst my thread is primarily aimed at those who have experience of university (either as a current student or alumnus/a), SENSIBLE contribution is welcome from anyone of any age or level of study! Spam or abuse will NOT be tolerated :security:

    Here is Deyesy's mega-thread: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...php?p=63149045

    NB. For those of you who have not seen my other threads/who don't know me: hi and welcome! I'm a mentally disabled (schizoaffective disorder, depressive type) PhD student at the University of London. My mental health blew up catastrophically whilst I was an undergrad at the University of Oxford, and sadly I have never quite recovered :sad: I have experience of mental health provision (or lack of) at three different universities.

    This thread is for general interest and to raise awareness - I am not able to provide tailored or medical support, since I am not a doctor! Reading this thread is NOT a substitute for appropriate medical/pharmacalogical/
    psychological interventions administered by those with appropriate training.




    A few questions to get us all started

    1. What does good mental health look/feel like?

    2. What might be signs that you (general use of the word you) are starting to develop poor mental health at university?

    3. Do you know who to turn to, should you or a friend start to develop poor mental health whilst attending university?

    4. What happens if the support I initially access is not enough/the support is not good or helpful support?

    (I will write my own thoughts on the above four questions in due course.)

    Thanks for reading and/or contributing! Let the fun begin
    1) Able to undertake basic tasks without difficulty, able to concentrate
    2) Loss of appetite, unable to focus on work, don't enjoy things you normally enjoy, tearfulness.
    3) I would try the student services department.
    4) Wouldn't really know what to do if what they offered wasn't good enough tbh
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    1) Able to undertake basic tasks without difficulty, able to concentrate
    2) Loss of appetite, unable to focus on work, don't enjoy things you normally enjoy, tearfulness.
    3) I would try the student services department.
    4) Wouldn't really know what to do if what they offered wasn't good enough tbh
    Thanks for contributing :hugs: I will share my thoughts on all the qs properly once I can get at a working computer! :grumble:

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    On my way to uni! Do keep the conversations going in my absence!

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    The_Lonely_Goatherd :adore: you are a queen!

    Brilliant thread as always

    I asked some unis to get involved and share their services and explain how they support student minds on campus

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post63156953
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    (Original post by She-Ra)
    The_Lonely_Goatherd :adore: you are a queen!

    Brilliant thread as always

    I asked some unis to get involved and share their services and explain how they support student minds on campus

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post63156953
    Aww thanks

    Awesome thread you've got going, woop woop :woo:

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    One thing my old uni did which was v useful was introduce self certifying extensions- you could get one extension a year without having to provide any evidence.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    One thing my old uni did which was v useful was introduce self certifying extensions- you could get one extension a year without having to provide any evidence.
    Wow that is amazing! :headfire:

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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Wow that is amazing! :headfire:

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    Yeah it proved v helpful in my Masters year when I went through a period where I just couldn't concentrate on work.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    Yeah it proved v helpful in my Masters year when I went through a period where I just couldn't concentrate on work.
    :hugs: Am so glad that support was there for you :yep:

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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    :hugs: Am so glad that support was there for you :yep:

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    Thanks, was v helpful for me.
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    I'm sorry that I haven't been on here much, peeps - was on campus all day and laptop still playing up. Will try and use my mum's laptop tomorrow daytime to write properly.

    Better late than never

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    OK finally woken up and successfully stolen my mother's laptop

    Prepare yourself for an avalanche of posts over the next 2 hours :ahee:

    I will be copying and pasting some posts from my Time to Talk Day 2016 thread, in case it's useful for anyone who didn't see that thread :yep:
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    First I'll start off by answering my own questions, using my own mental health journey in order to do so!

    1. What does good mental health look/feel like?

    It's important to stress that being in/having good mental health doesn't necessarily mean you are happy-go-lucky 24/7! As others have alluded to, it actually means functioning well and 'normally' (by which I mean, relative to other people and in proportion to any given situation). It means your actions, reactions and emotions are relatively stable and are considered 'normal' for whatever situation you are in.

    Signs of good mental health can include sleeping and eating well; being able to get out and about; engaging in activities/hobbies that you enjoy, and feeling comfortable and well within yourself.

    2. What might be signs that you (general use of the word you) are starting to develop poor mental health at university?

    Signs that you may be developing poor mental health at uni:

    - an inability to concentrate/focus on work, that is worse than on an average day for you

    - sleeping too much or too little/lethargy or feeling like you have excessive amounts of energy

    - feeling tearful, on edge, anxious or stressed out (again, worse than on an average day)

    - seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there

    - experiencing out-of-ordinary paranoia (e.g. fearing people are trying to kill you, are spying on you, or are controlling you through your thoughts/some form of technology)

    It should be noted that this is by no means an exhaustive list!

    3. Do you know who to turn to, should you or a friend start to develop poor mental health whilst attending university?

    It is important not to bury your head or your problems in the sand. If you are experiencing out-of-ordinary symptoms or levels of these symptoms, then there are various people/groups you can approach. These include (again, not an exhaustive list):

    - A trusted friend or family member
    - Your uni or home GP
    - Your uni or home GP practice's nurse
    - Your personal tutor
    - Staff in your uni's disability office (for long-term mental health issues, diagnosed mental health issues, or suspected long-term mental health issues)
    - Other welfare staff at your uni
    - Your uni's chaplain (whether you share their religious beliefs or not)
    - Your university's Counselling Service (NB. there may be a waiting list)

    For one-off incidents, you can contact helplines like (not an exhaustive list)

    Papyrus (for people aged under 35 experiencing suicidal feelings) - 0800 068 41 41 to phone, 07786209697 to text, [email protected] for email
    The Samaritans (for anything) - 116 123 (UK and RoI) or email [email protected] . It is FREE to ring the Samaritans.

    Sane Helpline (for mental health difficulties): 0300 304 7000 (NB. this is a low-cost number, not free)



    4. What happens if the support I initially access is not enough/the support is not good or helpful support?

    Sadly, many people can fall through the cracks in the university system, and not all universities take the same approach to looking after mentally ill students. I myself found that mental health provision was appalling at one of my institutions (I understand it is marginally better now but that there are still problems).

    It is important again to emphasise that mental health difficulties count as a disability and are covered by the Equality Act 2010.

    As a disabled student attending a university, you are entitled to reasonable adjustments (upon proof of said difficulties in form of a doctor's note), most often through your uni's disability office. If you do not feel your university are adequately meeting your need for reasonable adjustments, then your first port of call should be discussing this with the university's disability office.

    If you feel at any point in your studies that you are being actively discriminated against solely due to your mental health difficulties, it is important to act and quickly. Your university's disability office can advise and advocate for you. If they are the problem, turn to your SU welfare reps.

    If you see a GP and they are dismissive of your problems or do not listen properly, see every GP in that practice until/unless someone listens. If your uni practice is not good, see your home practice (or vice versa).

    Essentially what I am trying to say is don't give up on yourself or getting the help you need/deserve, unless you have exhausted absolutely every single possible option :yes:
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    Repost



    THE FIVE WAYS TO WELLBEING (New Economics Foundation)

    So let's start somewhere easy. What are the five ways to wellbeing?

    The five ways to wellbeing emerged from evidence-based research conducted by the think tank, the New Economics Foundation:
    http://www.neweconomics.org/projects...-to-well-being . Their research showed that if we encompass the five ways to wellbeing in our daily lives and use them on a regular basis, they can improve mood and reduce stress

    The five ways to wellbeing, as outlined by the NEF, are:

    GIVE, CONNECT, TAKE NOTICE, KEEP LEARNING, BE ACTIVE.

    These words are quite broad in their meaning and can encompass a wide range of things. Some of them overlap too, in terms of crossing over the boundaries between categories. Examples for each category (though by no means a definitive list) include:

    GIVE - giving yourself time and space to recharge the batteries or be yourself. Giving to the community. Giving to others - giving them a smile or a small gift. Giving up your time and energy to do something worthwhile, like volunteering!

    CONNECT - connecting with others, be they known to you or a strange. Picking up the phone or writing someone a message via email or Facebook. Smiling at someone who seems sad, upset or lonely.

    TAKE NOTICE - taking time to notice and appreciate things that we might otherwise miss, ignore or even avoid! Taking notice is being mindful and really living in the present, rather than being stuck in the past or worrying about the future. It can be as simple as noticing different shades of pink on a flower petal!


    KEEP LEARNING - obviously this can be educational-based but it doesn't have to be just that! It can be learning a new skill (e.g. baking, a language), a new hobby (sport, instruments) or just learning new facts about something that interests you!

    BE ACTIVE - this can be being sporty, or just taking a quick walk around the block for exercise and fresh air. Being active can also mean using your initiative to get actively involved in things, be that commmunity-based work like volunteering, or even just being active in your own recovery by doing things to help yourself/get your voice heard.



    Hope this gives people some ideas - many of us do incorporate the five ways to wellbeing already in some small ways. Have a think - do you use/do them all, and what could you improve on?
 
 
 
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