Being a student is often described as an almost identical and simplified shared experience when the truth is far more complicated. The experience of university can often be stressful and overwhelming with constant new challenges making it even more important to seek help when problems arise.
It’s widely recognised that one in four of us will struggle with our mental health at some point in our lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem you’re not alone and there are steps you can take to help, even if this is initially simply talking to someone you trust.
Incidents in which urgent support might be needed typically involve an imminent danger to your own or others safety. It’s important in such situations to get professional help quickly.
If you or someone you know require urgent support, you can:
- Call 999 to speak to the appropriate Emergency Service and then also inform Site Security by calling 01970 622649.
Examples of such situations might include suicidal intention, missing persons, possessing a weapon, threat of harm, physical injury, death of a student or terrorism.
Alternative, you can:
- Visit the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department located at Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth.
- Contact your/their GP or Out of Hours service. If you’re unsure telephone your GP practice where you will be redirected accordingly.
- Call 111 to speak to NHS 111 Wales or visit their website at www.111.wales.nhs.uk.
- Call the Samaritans free on 116 123. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.samaritans.org.
- Call the Papyrus Hopeline free on 0800 068 41 41. You can also email them at email@example.com or visit their website at www.papyrus-uk.org.
- Text SHOUT to 85258. You can also visit their website at www.giveusashout.org.
It’s important to recognise that not all Mental Health issues will necessarily appear as or result in crisis. Mental health problems can develop in many ways with depression and anxiety the most common in the UK.
Whilst everyone feels sad or worried from time to time, your feelings are becoming so strong they are affecting day to day life then it is important to seek help sooner rather than later. Thankfully there is now more than ever before numerous services and charities from which you can access support.
Student Wellbeing Service
The Wellbeing Service’s qualified practitioners will help guide students to find a solution to wellbeing issues whether buy building resilience and develop skills or signposting to other support services. Anyone with concerns about themselves or another student can contact the service.
The services asks student’s to complete a secure online registration form that enable them to gain more information about the concerns after which a practitioner will invite the student to make an appointment or email support options.
For more information about the service visit www.aber.ac.uk/en/sscs/wellbeing, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01970 621761/622087.
You can contact your GP to discuss any concerns you have about your mental health and how you are feeling. Your GP can offer self-help information, prescribe medication, refer you to counselling or for specialist mental health support where necessary.
Many find it difficult to explain how they are feeling in a short and often time limited appointment, consider making some notes of what you want to discuss beforehand.
Togetherall is a free 24/7 online website offering anonymised peer-to-peer chats moderated by trained practitioners on a range of mental health and wellbeing issues.
Along with the ability to chat with peers there is an ability to complete assessments for a range of issues (e.g. anxiety and depression) as well as learn new knowledge skills on several topics through various online self-help courses.
To access support visit www.togetherall.com/en-gb and if visiting for the first time click ‘Register’ in the top right and select “I’m from a university or college” where you’re able to submit your Aberystwyth email and create an account.
Student Space run by Student Minds to help students through the pandemic is a free text, phone webchat and email service available to students 4pm-11pm daily. They provide a range of trusted information, services, and tools to help with the challenges of student life.
The support provided is safe, confidential and develop with students and experts in student wellbeing and mental health.
To access support visit www.studentspace.org.uk, text STUDENT to 85258, email email@example.com or call 0808 189 5260.
Nightline is a student-run listening service and information service run by trained volunteers on behalf of all students at Aberystwyth University. The service operates on five principles: confidentiality, anonymity, non-judgemental non directional and non-advisory.
To access support visit www.nightline.aber.ac.uk/en/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-help Resources / Practitioner Presentations
Self-help is an increasingly popular way of managing wellbeing concerns, often using resources developed using evidence to manage and overcome difficulties without professional support. Such resources are often recommended as a first step to tackling mental health and wellbeing concerns.
The University and Union provide a variety of topic specific resources, presentations, and training for students to access.
Student Wellbeing Service Resources
- A-Z of Wellbeing – This section of the university website includes various useful links to helpful information, apps, websites, and YouTube clips.
- ACTivate your Life course – This free course is designed to help those taking part to talk practical action to deal with thoughts and feelings that may be causing distress.
- Panopto Video Guides and Practitioner Presentations – These presentations, developed and delivered by qualified practitioners offer skills and strategies in dealing several challenges students face during their time at university.
- Panopto Video Guide Topics - Managing Transitions, Procrastination and Avoidance, Managing Academic Workload, Sleep, Managing Presentation Anxiety, Lifestyle and Diet and Body Mass Index.
- Practitioner Presentation Topics - Anxiety and Panic, Low Mood and Depression, Friendships at University, Mindful Mood Boost, Regulating Emotions, Preparing for Exams and Managing Change Well.
Students’ Union Advice Service Resources
- Wellbeing Training – The Union collaborates with a variety of charities and organisations to host and deliver a range of workshops designed to support student wellbeing on campus.
- Wellbeing Training Topics - Resilience Skills, Suicide Prevention, Peer Support – Compassionate Listening (Samaritans), Gambling Awareness (GamCare), Community Sighted Guide Training (Guide Dogs Cymru), Bystander Intervention Training (Welsh Woman’s Aid) and Consent Training (Brook).
Talking to someone about their Mental Health
Talking to someone is often the first step to take when you know they are going through a difficult time although many struggle to know how to approach such conversations. It is important to try not to overthink conversations and that only by speaking to someone about their mental health can you find out what is troubling them and what you can do to help.
Below are eight tips for talking about mental health:
- Set time aside with no distractions – it is important to provide an open and non-judgemental space with no distractions.
- Let them share as much or as little as they want to – let them lead the discussion at their own pace without pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about.
- Don’t try to diagnose or second guess their feelings – Remember that you probably aren’t a counsellor, try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly.
- Keep questions open ended – Consider how you phrase questions and try to keep your language neutral while remembering to give the person time to answer.
- Talk about wellbeing – Talk about de-stressing or practicing self-care and ask if they find anything helpful. Exercising, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep can all help wellbeing.
- Listen carefully to what they tell you – Repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it, show understanding, and respect their feelings.
- Signpost them to support and how to access this – You might want to offer to go with them or access help. Try not to take control and allow them to make decisions.
- Know your limits – Ask for help or signpost if the problem is serious, if you believe they are imminent danger check out the ‘Crisis Support’ section above.
In addition to the support referenced above there are a range of charities and organisations that provide advice, information and support to individuals who are experiencing mental health problems.
- Anxiety UK (www.anxietyuk.org.uk) – a national charity supporting individuals affected by anxiety, stress, anxiety-based depression or a phobia.
- Bipolar UK (www.bipolaruk.org) – a national charity supporting individuals affected by bipolar.
- Mind Cymru (www.mind.org.uk/about-us/mind-cymru) – the Welsh branch of the national charity which provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
- No Panic (www.nopanic.org.uk) – a national charity supporting individuals suffering from panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders and other related anxiety disorders.
- Papyrus (www.papyrus-uk.org) – a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide specifically those under 35 in the UK.
- Student Minds (www.studentminds.org.uk) – a student mental health charity…
- Headspace (www.headspace.com) – an app and website which supports individuals with guided meditations and mindfulness using animations, articles and videos.
What can the AberSU Advice Service do to help?
The AberSU Advice Service is independent from the University and provides a free, confidential, and impartial service to all Aberystwyth University students.
The Advice Service can assist you in a range of ways, including:
- Advice on how to report Special Circumstances to the University.
- Advice on how to submit an Academic Appeal if you have missed the Special Circumstances deadline, or your circumstances have been refused.
- Advice you on how to temporarily withdrawal and what you need to think about when deciding to do so.
- Help signpost you to other support services.
To make an appointment to discuss all your options, including what support is available to you, please contact us below:
First Produced: November 2020
Reviewed: November 2020