University life is full of great experiences, but at times we could all do with reaching out to friends in a time of need. Friendship can play a key role in helping someone living with, or recovering from difficulties. We know that providing this support to friends isn’t always easy. It can be hard to know what to say and when to say it.
Look After Your Mate is a national Student Minds campaign designed to give you all the information needed to support friends experiencing mental health difficulties whilst looking after your own wellbeing. We run Look After Your Mate workshops to help you feel confident helping a friend in a time of need.
Please register your interest at the bottom of this page and we’ll email you with the workshop dates. These are ran with the Bath Student Minds group, who also run various additional workshops that you may find helpful.
In the meantime, there's lots of great advice on this page for you, including support here at University.
General advice about Looking After Your Mate and yourself
Student Minds provide a brilliant guide shaped by students’ own experiences, which can help you support your mates: Look After Your Mate Guide - A Student Minds Resource.
We’ve highlighted some key bits of advice from the Student Minds’ website below, which we highly recommend you having a read through when you can.
How to start a conversation with a friend
When starting a conversation with a friend you are worried about, consider where and when you are going to talk and what you’re going to say.
Picking somewhere quiet without interruptions is a good starting point. Having only a short period of time can add unnecessary pressure to the situation so make sure you have enough time to chat. When thinking about what you’re going to say don’t worry about not understanding everything your friend is going through and don’t worry about giving advice, simply by giving your friend the opportunity to talk, you are showing them that they are not alone and that you are there for them.
To find out more visit Student Minds - Starting a conversation with a friend.
Remember to look after yourself
When supporting a friend remember to make time for yourself by keeping up with your usual interests and hobbies. If you are finding worrying about your friend tough, seek support from someone removed from the situations. Also, set boundaries, you may not be able to help your friend with everything, you can help restore their confidence by allowing them to do things for themselves.
To find out more visit Student Minds - Tips to look after yourself.
Support for specific difficulties
If your friend is having specific difficulties, understanding more about the condition and what they are going through is one of the most helpful things you can do. However, avoid labelling your friend, encourage professional support if a condition hasn’t been diagnosed.
For specific support on Eating disorders, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar disorder, OCD and Psychosis visit Student Minds - Support for specific difficulties.
Get Advice and Support at University
We encourage you to sign up to the Look After Your Mate workshop, but you can get help all year around at the University.
Peer Mentors are experienced students who know what it is like to be a student at the University and are trained to signpost their mentees to various support services. To find out more visit Peer Mentoring.
Diversity and Support Groups
There are also a number of Diversity and Support groups at the University including: Student Minds, Disability Action Group (DAG), Feminism and Gender Equality, LGBT+, Mature Students Group, Nightline, Race Equality Group and Bath Erasmus and Exchange Network (BEN). Diversity and Support groups have a designated Welfare Committee member who can support student wellbeing. To find out more visit The SU Diversity and Support Groups.
Student Services provide support and guidance, including counselling and mental health, disability support, money management and international student advice. To find out more visit University of Bath Student Services.
SU Advice and Support Centre
The Advice & Support Centre can guide and support you with any problems you may have during your time at Bath. Professional Advisers offer confidential, independent and non-judgemental information, advice and support in a number of areas. These include: academic issues such as academic appeals and individual mitigating circumstances, housing and personal issues. To find out more visit The SU Advice & Support.
Your department and personal tutor can also provide advice and support, and can signpost you to various University services.