Snowboarder, fencer, friend, pink sock wearer and all round great guy Stefan Osgood sadly left us back in March of 2016. Stefan studied Maths at Aberystwyth for four years, whilst making a lasting impact on the student community. He was a great family member, friend, boyfriend and colleague to many of us when he lost a battle, a battle that nobody should have to face. We invite you to be a part of Aberystwyth University Students’ Union’s campaign #StefansSocks – he may not be here with us today, but his memory certainly lives on.
Let’s talk about how we’re feeling, let’s do everything we can to make sure that we’re feeling happy and healthy, let’s feel okay about not feeling okay and feel comfortable in reaching out for the help that we need. Because #ItsOkayToTalk and we cannot carry on letting suicide win the battle. Wearing pink socks is an excellent conversation starter, so let’s all wear pink socks and talk about mental health together. All money raised by the #StefansSocks campaign contributes to student mental health activity and work with local mental health charities and campaigns in Aberystwyth.
- Pink socks were worn at Varsity 2016 and 17 and the hashtag #StefansSocks was launched
- Branded pink socks were created and the campaign officially launched in Freshers’ Week 2016/17
- Charity Rugby match played in memory of Stefan on 15th October 2016 by BSB and Swansea Vikings
- Campaign launch party (with music from Pretty Visitors & Etienne Victor, and help from ACOG, Tickled Pink and Fencing) held on 15th October 2016, raising over £500 throughout the day
- Over 1000 pairs of #StefansSocks sold to date, with all profits going to MIND Aberystwyth
- MIND Aberystwyth as one of AberSU’s charities of the year 2016/17 and CALM as a chosen charity 2017/18.
- #StefansSocks webpage launched
- Message in a Bauble Christmas campaign – spreading comforting and uplifting messages in baubles given out during exam time
- March 9th 2017 marked a year since Stefan passed away – Varsity Kit Launch & Memorial Wall
- AberSU’s Varsity stash 2017 was bright pink and included a pair of #StefansSocks
- AberSnow have raised over £12,000 in Stefan’s name since his death and this total continues to rise
- Charity Shisha lounge hosted at ONE Festival 2017 in aid of #StefansSocks, raising money for MIND Aberystwyth
Looking after yourself
A healthy diet and exercise can have a positive impact on your mental health. Why not go for a little walk along the seafront or try out an exercise class at AU Sports Centre. https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/sportscentre/. Eating healthy doesn’t have to break your bank – why not buy a new fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried before and cook a new recipe with it? There are plenty of websites online that offer cheap, easy and healthy recipes for students - just type it in to a search engine et voila! It’s the little things that can have the biggest impact.
Doing activities that you love can also have a positive impact on your mental health. You could try taking up a new hobby or picking up an old hobby that you haven’t done for a while. It could be something like playing a sport, learning a new language, joining a club or society, or something as simple as knitting or colouring (come to our regular Wednesday craft sessions in the SU!).
Get to know you and how your mind and body works – getting in to a routine of self-care is important for mental wellbeing. If you struggle to relax after a long day, get in to the habit of taking a bubble bath or a hot shower. If you have difficulty getting to sleep, practicing mindfulness and meditation can be beneficial in clearing your mind and allowing you to have a good night’s sleep. It could take a lot of trial and error, but finding the right routine for you that helps you to relax and calm your mind can be really beneficial. (A favoured routine of ours is to have a hot shower, put on our comfiest pyjamas, light a lavender scented candle and have a cup of Earl Grey tea).
There are numerous organisations out there that specialise in mindfulness and self-care. They offer lots of different tips and information on mental health and wellbeing – our personal favourite is The Blurt Foundationhttps://www.blurtitout.org/.
Lastly, just talking about how you’re feeling with somebody close to you is a great way of easing your mind. Remember that you’re never alone in how you’re feeling and that there’s always somebody who will listen and understand. And if you’re not quite ready to talk out loud, writing things down in a diary or on a blog can help.
Whatever battle you may be fighting, remember that you’ve made it this far and that you’re stronger than you allow yourself to believe. Keep on fighting and keep on smiling, because we promise you that it gets better.
Worried about a friend?
If you’re worried about a friend’s mental health, try to speak to them about how they may be feeling. Letting them know that you care, even if they’re not comfortable in telling you what’s going on, will be really re-assuring for them. Signpost them in the direction of the professional services listed on this page and encourage them to do small things that might make them feel better – you could suggest going on a walk or baking a cake together. Even if you’re struggling to understand what they’re going through, it’s important that you try your best to listen and support them.
If you’re worried about how you can support a friend, or if the strain of their mental illness is becoming too much for you, don’t forget that we have a team of fully trained professionals at the university’s student support centre that are here to help. They’re not just here to support students in crisis – they’re more than happy to give you support and advice on dealing with a friend’s health. You can pop in to the student welcome centre on Penglais campus to book an appointment or you can firstname.lastname@example.org, where they will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you think that a friend may be in immediate danger to themselves, Bronglais A&E department have a team of specialists that are trained to deal with suicidal emergencies. If you believe that a person may cause immediate danger to others, you should contact the police.
Where to go for help
The university student support centre is here to help and support you with any health issues that you may experience during your time at university, including mental health support. To book an appointment with them you can pop in to the student welcome centre on Penglais campus or you can email email@example.com, where they will get back to you as soon as possible.
Here at Aberystwyth Students’ Union we also have an advice service that can support you by listening and signposting you to the relevant mental health services. To book an appointment please visit www.abersu.co.uk or visit our reception located at the entrance of the building.
MIND Aberystwyth are a local organisation that specialise in mental health support. To find out more about the support they can offer you head over to http://mindaberystwyth.org/. Alternatively you can visit them at their offices on Mill Street.
If you need a listening ear;
- Nightline is a student run listening service open from 8pm – 8am. They are there to listen, without judgement. Their number can be found on the posters dotted around campus or on the back of your student card.
- Various telephone services are available throughout the UK that offer help and support to those that need it – they will all listen to and support you without judgement. These organisations can also support you in moments of crisis. These organisations and their contact details are listed below.
Phone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Community Advice & Listening Line
Phone: 0800 132 737
Text: help to 81066
Phone HopeLineUK: 0800 068 41 41
Text: 07786 209 697
NHS Wales Direct
Phone: 0845 46 47 (available 24 hours a day)
Phone: 01970 626 225