We all know we are living in unprecedented times, and it’s probably a phrase most people are bored of hearing. The world has been through pandemics but not in the current climate, not with the current issues and not with current technology. It can be easy to see a lot of cons here, and its naturally to feel a little helpless and complacent right about now. Feeling part of a community right now is really important so we know that speaking with and getting support from your support network of friends and family is key at this time.
We also wanted to let you know that there are various other ways you can be part of different communities and look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time. I’ve therefore put together a list of our top recommendations for activities and support available to you below.
In person activity
At the start of this year there was such a fear of spreading COVID-19 that we looked to all alternatives available virtually. The truth is, although for some students virtual activity may break down barriers and allow a place to connect with others, for the vast majority the virtual world will never be able to create the community that we are able to build with in-person interactions. As an SU and a university we are working to facilitate as much COVID-19 compliant activity as possible. So - What’s On? Every morning from 10-11am we are hosting Morning Mixers in the Plug and Tub. Any student can come along to these and it is an opportunity to meet new people, alone or with a friend, and meet people outside of your household. The Plug and Tub also has evenings every night you can go to including the Plug Quiz on Tuesdays at 7pm. We are also centralising any activities being hosted by groups so that this can be found on the SU What’s On page.
For students living in university student accommodation you will have also been emailed opportunities to meet other people outside your flat that are being hosted by your Student Living Ambassadors, including Tea and Talk session and City Tours. These will be happening over the next few weekends and you can sign up through the form link on the email you should have received from accommodation.
Students’ Union Support:
SU Advice and Support
It is a strange time right now and some of us just need some advice. Our SU Advice and Support team provide a confidential, free and independent service from the University. You can speak with them about any questions or concerns that you have. They specialise in academic, housing and personal advice. Whether you’ve got an issue with your course, want to relay a concern about your house (including with housemates and isolation) or are feeling like you need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling within yourself, they’re here for you. They’ll help identify your options and will help you throughout the steps you chose to take. Get in touch with them via email@example.com to speak with one of the friendly team.
V Team Virtual Lounge chill out space
V Team is one of the SU volunteer groups at the university and offers plenty of opportunities in person to volunteer and meet other people. Alongside their in-person activity which can happen in groups of 6, they have launched a virtual space to chill, socialise and volunteer, every Thursday at 5-6pm. You can find out more on their Facebook about the work they are doing and how to get involved.
They are a student-led listening and support service where you can talk confidentially about a range of issues whatever you or a peer is experiencing and get signposting to the services that can help. They’re currently operating via instant messenger and email.
Student Services support
Student Services have two key areas, the Wellbeing team and the Counselling and Mental Health service. You can visit their website to see exactly what they offer and what is best to suit your needs. We’ve highlighted a few key provisions we want you to know about below.
Student services offers a range of wellbeing activities for you to take part in. Currently you can sign up to gardening sessions run in partnership with Bath Mind. You don’t ever of had to garden before and will give you an opportunity to plant some vegetables, while meeting new people and enjoying the fresh air. Don’t underestimate the fun of gardening as the officers Tom and Franci will tell you. They had a lot of fun keeping some of the plants alive during lockdown.
Be Well- Talk Now
The university has now launched Be Well-Talk Now which gives you access to support from an advisor by phone or live chat 24 hours a day to talk through any problem you may have. You can call 08081968046 from within the UK, or +443307771499 from outside the UK. To find the live chat visit https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/be-well-talk-now/. This is available to students all over the world and the service is also offered in mandarin, Italian, German, Lithuanian, Polish and Russian. They can also provide counselling services if neccesary.
There are also various activities and resources they provide that can help with your mental wellbeing including: workshops and courses, podcasts, Read Well and self-help resources.
Bath Mind courses
As part of their Mentally Healthy Universities programme, Mind brings you two new online courses which explore what mental health is, how wellbeing can support mental health, where to find support and how to talk to others about mental health.
Further areas of support:
Your personal tutors are there for support, whether it is academic or personal, you can reach out to them and they can provide advice and support, or signpost you to the best options available to you..
Student Minds ‘Student Space’
Student Minds works alongside students to develop the work and projects that they do. As a response to COVID, they have created an online student space that aims to help:
- Access to dedicated support services for students, by phone or text
- Info and tools to help you through the challenges of coronavirus
- Helping you find what support is available at your uni
There are many further free national services and local services available to you too. Here’s just a few of the key ones we think you should know about:
- Bath Mind provide a telephone service offering practical and emotional support in the evenings.
- Off the Record – They offer a range of services including counselling, listening support, advocacy, support for care leaves and a LGBT+ focused support group.
- Developing Health and Independence – They offer various services around drug and alcohol support, housing advice and what they call ‘social prescribing’ which is looking at your wellbeing needs and linking you with support and activities tailored to you.
- Wellbeing College – Provide a great range of online and in-person wellbeing courses mostly focused on doing enriching activities such as cooking, meditating, walking and animating to confidence building courses.
- The Samaritans – Offer a 24/7 phone and text, listening and support service.
- CALM – They provide a phone and webchat service for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems, especially those in crisis and they are particularly focussed on helping males to get the support they need.
We hope that this encourages you to try new things, speak with your support networks and reach out and speak to the services here for you no matter what you’re experiencing. If you’re not sure who to speak to, I’d recommend our SU Advice and Support team as they’ll be able to help identify what support would suit you.