The Wellbeing Support resource starter pack
Loneliness, low mood, exam stress – whether it is the exam itself, or the anxiety of doing exams as well as many other anxieties: health, money, friendship, family, body image etc. These are all issues that can be experienced in tandem, be a one-off or a longer term issue. And whether it’s situational or even historical you should not and do not have to go through it alone.
Encouraging open discussion surrounding mental health and positive methods to take care of your mental health, has always been something that came naturally to me. But taking care of my own well-being was definitely something that I had to work on.
In my previous post linked here: https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/students/5-mood-boosting-tips/ , I discussed tips to improve your mental health, one of which is to reach out for help, which I know from personal experience is easier said than done. In this piece my hope is to direct you, more specifically, towards the resources and people who can support you, knowing you are not alone.
In an emergency – 999
Structuring in help and support in the longer term will be beneficial to you, but in an emergency where you, or someone else is at risk of harm or in danger then your very first contact is 999. Alternatively, you can contact the NHS 24/7 Urgent Health helpline: In Exeter- 0808 196 8708 (free) or 0300 555 5000. In Cornwall – 0800 038 5300. Everything else can come later.
The University Wellbeing team
So, your first port of call is the Wellbeing website: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/. The team have done a great job at curating lots of links and advice to get you started with a number of issues and concerns.
But contacting them is the first step. The page has a live chat from 2-4 pm for Exeter students or 10-12 for Cornwall students on weekdays or you can call or email. In Exeter: 01392 724381 / firstname.lastname@example.org. In Cornwall: 01326 371847 or 01326 371875 / email@example.com.
In the intermediary period, whilst you are awaiting further support, please let me direct you to the – Advice and Resources section. Here, you can find links to support groups and courses, in addition to access to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programmes.
Personal tutor/ academic advisor
Especially if you have a positive relationship with your personal tutor it could be helpful to speak to them for different reasons. Firstly, because often your tutor has either connected previous students to the correct support or will know where and who to put you in contact with. Secondly, they can aid you if your current issue is currently affecting your studies or if you feel it’s going to impact an exam or upcoming deadline. And thirdly, just for general support and advice. So email them or ask for a 1:1.
Exam and Course support – via wellbeing
University can be difficult enough with deadlines, Exams and lectures, without the added stress of a health concern. Thus, the Wellbeing and Accessibility team are on hand to help assess what additional help or structures a student might need in order to thrive and survive whilst at university. Together they can put into place an ILP – Independent learning plan, that makes facing challenges that bit more easy. Don’t waste time in not reaching out, because all I could think was why did I wait 4 years for something so helpful!
Direct NHS contact
If you would rather get the ball rolling yourself in accessing NHS support. I’d advise seeing your GP, who will know how referral pathways to different services work and what will be required for them.
Or alternatively, have a look at what services you might feel could be of benefit to you, in order to better advocate for yourself.
In Devon information can be found here: https://www.devon.gov.uk/care-and-health/mental-health/
In Cornwall information can be found here:
Charities, Welfare societies and support groups
There are lots of societies and charities dedicated to supporting Mental health illnesses but also more specifically, students Mental health. The first few that spring to mind for me being. Nightline, BEAT and Mind, all of which have Exeter University specific societies.
Many societies at the university also have welfare secretaries now, who will help put on a variety of socials or events to promote student wellbeing, as well as provide another point of contact to connect you with the appropriate support.
Talk to friends or family
It might be useful to take a break. Maybe for you that looks like going home, having people visit or just needing a phone call to check in, but talking to loved ones can provide that extra support you need, or they may see the signs you are struggling before you do. Try not to isolate yourself.