Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner from Counselling, Health & Wellbeing talks about the importance of both staff and students creating a supportive culture at Cardiff University…
The University experience for many of our students will be one to remember and one that shapes their future. Whilst we are thankful that many of our students enjoy and thrive during their university years we also know that for some this is a difficult time. Starting a new course, in a new place, with new people, and often in a new home is a massive transition and requires students to be resilient and proactive in how they manage it. This is all coupled with taking responsibility for themselves, their academic work and their future career.
Our priority is improving the student experience and helping students to study and stay on their course
The Counselling Service has been established for a number of years and has aimed to provide professional services to students in order to promote their wellbeing and help them reach their potential for academic success. In addition to the Counselling Service a new Wellbeing Team was launched in February 2014, to offer a different strand of support. At present, as a Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team, our top priority is improving the Student Experience and helping students to study and stay on their course. Year upon year our statistics are showing an increase in the number of students coming to see us. We hope that this is because we are more visible in the student community than we have been previously. There is also an argument that the Time to Change pledge and the out-reach work of the Wellbeing Team has helped to normalise mental health and wellbeing difficulties within the student population, which helps to reduce stigma and increase access to support.
Are you feeling the pressure at Uni?
The pressures of academic life can take their toll on physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing and if you feel the pressure rest assured you are not alone.
In a recent piece of research produced by the Equality Challenge Unit (2014), 18 universities shared their good practice for students experiencing mental health difficulties. The findings suggested that 0.8% of students disclose to their University that they have a mental health condition. This, when compared with the estimated prevalence of mental health difficulties in an adult population, would suggest that student difficulties are under-reported. Interestingly, 75% of students who participated in the research stated that they would be willing to disclose their difficulties to a fellow student, and 80% of these students indicated that they found the support to be helpful. Many students also reported that they had spoken to Academic Tutors prior to accessing counselling services. A key reason for non-disclosure to services was suggested to be a student’s belief that they would be ‘thought less of’.
Our advice to you
- Often Students can feel really isolated and alone when they are struggling. In fact many students like yourself are experiencing similar problems. Unfortunately students still find it difficult to tell people they know about how they feel
- We would really encourage you to drop-in and meet with us if you have any concerns about accessing the service or want to know a little more about what we do
- Please read our tips below for more information on helping yourself and others
We all have a role to play
You, your fellow students and particularly Society Presidents, Elected Officers, Academic Reps, our Wellbeing Champions and Interns as well as Academic Staff and other staff across the University all have an important role to playin improving Student Wellbeing at Cardiff Uni. Students need to feel connected, a sense of belonging and to feel as though they will not be judged negatively if they show who they really are to others. We are all in a position to get involved and here’s how:
Things you can do
- Get talking and connected with others – just simply telling a friend how you feel or asking them how they feelcan help to get a different perspective
- Be prepared to talk openly and to think about ways that can help deal with any issues you or your fellow student are facing
- Learn about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and practice them. These are simple strategies that can really help
- Think about the basics- we all know them but do we all do them? Eating well, getting our sleep in a good routine and exercise all contribute to wellbeing and mood
- Look out for our New Wellbeing Champions
- Get to know what support Cardiff University offers and how to access it – see below ‘The many areas of Wellbeing’
- Get campaigning for Wellbeing, Student Minds have various campaigns you can get involved in
- Take a look at the tips from Student Minds on ways to Support a Friend
The many areas of Wellbeing and support available to you
A sense of belonging, feeling connected and feeling hopeful about the future can all be factors that influence wellbeing, and with so many different areas of Wellbeing there are endless possibilities for University Students and Staff to form a ‘Supportive University Family’ and to encourage greater use of the support available:
- Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team
- Physical Wellbeing supported by our Health Team, Sports Staff, Sports Teams, Disability and Dyslexia Team
- Spiritual Wellbeing supported by our Chaplaincy
- Financial Wellbeing supported by our Advice and Money Team
- Environmental Wellbeing supported by our Advice and Money Team, Student Advice, Residences, Security and VP Welfare
- Social Wellbeing supported by our Student’s Union, Societies and VP’s
- Occupational Wellbeing supported by our Careers and Employability team
- Academic Wellbeing supported by our Academic Staff, Personal Tutors, Student Advice and all Student Support and Wellbeing Services
Contacting Counselling Health & Wellbeing
We have friendly and approachable staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Please access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a 10-15 non-bookable appointment to have an initial chat with us or, alternatively, please refer into our service by completing our referral questionnaire. If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have GP please contact Park Place Surgery.
Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.