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Looking after your mental wellbeing

By CGordon 12 Nov 2018

Anyone can be affected by mental health problems, at any time in their life, any day of the year. Studying at university can be stressful, and many of us will experience difficulties with our mental health at some point during our studies. It's really important to look after our own mental wellbeing, as well as keeping an eye on our friends around us.

This article has lots of tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing, as well as who to contact if you're having difficulties with your mental health.

Ways to look after yourself

The NHS list five ways to improve your mental wellbeing. Why not give them a try and see if you feel a difference?

  1. Connect

    Connecting with people can really help to improve your mood. This could be as simple as grabbing a coffee with a course-mate before class, spending some time with flatmates, or giving friends and family back home a phone. 

    You can also connect with people through sports clubs and societies. Did you know we have over 200 societies affiliated with the Student Representative Council (SRC)? Find a club that interests you here!

  2. Be Active

    You can get active in many ways - even walking or cycling to uni is a great start! 

    If you live in University of Glasgow accommodation, you get a free gym membership to the University's gym. All you need to do is bring along your student ID to the gym reception desk and let them know that you live in student accommodation. They have great inductions as well as classes if you're new to using a gym.

    Joining a sports team can also be a fun way to get active and meet others. There are 50 clubs associated with the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) that you can join. It doesn't matter if you're a complete beginner looking to try a sport out, or a seasoned pro, the clubs cater to all members. Take a look at the list of clubs here!

  3. Keep Learning

    If you're reading this, then you're already learning as a University of Glasgow student! Learning can give you a huge sense of achievement and confidence.

    The University's Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Service (LEADS) has some great tips for studying, assessments and exams. They also host workshops for you to improve your study skills and ask questions. You can find out more about what LEADS do and how to get involved here.

    Learning doesn't just include going to classes and doing homework - learning outside of the classroom is also great for your wellbeing. You could learn to play an instrument, or learn how to cook a new recipe. Clubs and societies are a great place to start, or you could watch tutorials online or grab a book from the library. 

    If you live in UofG accommodation, look out for on-site events that give you a chance to try new things. So far this semester we've had CPR classes, a cooking class, a self-defence taster workshop, a yoga taster, and more!

  4. Give To Others

    Even small acts can be really gratifying. Simply smiling at someone, letting someone know you're thankful for them, or saying something kind can be enough!

    You could also volunteer with a charity, or help out a friend with something. 

    If you'd like to get involved with a charity, the SRC have a number of societies aligned with charities and volunteering as well as a database of volunteering opportunities, which can be found here.

  5. Be Mindful

    Being mindful, or paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing.

    There are lots of ways to practice mindfulness. Check out the University's Counselling & Psychological Services (CAPS) mindfulness page for more information.

Getting help for your mental health

If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone and there are a number of ways to get help.

Immediate help

If you are afraid that you, or someone you know, may be a danger to themselves or others then please seek help immediately.

Please contact your GP or NHS24 on 111.  Alternatively you can go to Accident and Emergencies.

The Samaritans are available for drop-ins at 210 West George Street from 9am to 10pm or can be contacted on 116 123 or at jo@samaritans.org. Breathing Space also operates a helpline from 6pm - 2am weekdays and throughout the weekend.  They can be contact on 0800 83 85 87.  

If you live in University of Glasgow accommodation, you can also contact your Living Support Team out of hours who can provide a listening ear and assist you in accessing help.

Who can help?

Your GP

You can speak to your GP about your mental health. If you are not registered with a local doctor, we recommend you do so as soon as possible. Information on how to do this can be found here.

Counselling & Psychological Services
You can also book an appointment with the University's Counselling & Psychological Service (CAPS) here.
CAPS offer on-the-day consultations if you'd like to speak about your mental health. These appointments go live at 9am each day, and are often taken quite quickly so we recommend you log in ready to book just before 9am. The link to book an on-the-day appointment is here. You can also book blocks of counselling here.
Their website also has a wealth of self-help resources.

Living Support
If you live in UofG accommodation you have access to your Living Support Teams. Living Support Assistants (LSAs) are senior students who live at your residence and are trained to provide out of hours support for a huge range of scenarios. They can provide a listening ear, are trained in Mental Health First Aid, and can help signpost you to services that are relevant to you. Your Living Support Teams are on call from 6pm to 8am on weekdays, and 24 hours at weekends. The number to reach them will be displayed throughout your residence, and can be found here.

Disability Service
If you have a chronic mental health condition you can register with the University's Disability Service. While they cannot directly help with your mental health, they can ensure that appropriate support is arranged for you during your time at UofG. This includes examination and study arrangements or additional funding from the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). Find out more about the Disability Service and how to register here.

The SRC also have a great website for looking after yourself.