Wellbeing

Support Available, and How it Helped Me...

For Mental Health Awareness Week, some students have shared experiences of their own mental health and the support they've accessed. We hope that anyone reading this may feel less alone and encouraged to ask for support if they feel like they need it.

Your Students' Union wants you to know that you don't have to struggle alone, there is no shame in asking for help.

A huge thank you to the students who shared their experiences below.

 

Student #1 Oliver 

Why did you need help, support, or advice? 

"I needed help because I was worried about my mental health due to all the stresses of COVID, specifically it had been a year since I had seen my family last and I wasn't sure when I would see them again. It was all really starting to weigh on me and I wanted to address it before it started to negatively affect me and my studies."

Which service did you use and how did it help? 

"I spoke to my SSA who pointed me towards BCU's mental health support, which I used to get in touch with a Counsellor. It honestly helped a lot; it isn't the first time that I've spoken to a Counsellor and being able to talk to a professional about how I was feeling and what steps I could take to better confront these feelings helped me not start to spiral into a darker place."

What would you say to other students dealing with something similar? 

"That if you feel like you might need any sort of mental health support, no matter how small the issue might seem, to seek it out. I truly believe that preventative mental health support is the best and it can really help keep you from falling into those dark places we all find ourselves in sometimes. No issue is too small, and you deserve all the help that need."

 

Student #2  Anonymous

Why did you need help, support or advice? 

"I am an introvert, and moving from my comfort place to a new place full of strangers made me homesick. I came to the UK as an international student and the adapting process wasn’t easy, as I was struggling to with my new life and had no one to talk to."

Which service did you use and how did it help? 

"Student mental health and wellbeing… it was great to know somebody is there for you when you need to open up or when you need professional help in getting you know your emotions."

What would you say to other students dealing with something similar? 

"Better to seek help at its earliest."

Anything else you'd like to add: 

"Seeking help doesn’t mean we are weak; it means we want to grow stronger and successful. so seek help as soon as you feel something."

 

Student #3 Pravjoth 

Why did you need help, support or advice? 

"I was going through some tough times with my cancer diagnosis, bullying, loneliness, family member deaths also stress came to me as well and I did not feel like I needed to speak to someone, and when I did, this is exactly what I needed to take care of my mental wellbeing."

Which service did you use and how did it help? 

"I used to go to therapy within the NHS but recently I have taken counselling session within the university’s mental health department as it was accessible and easy for me to talk about."

What would you say to other students dealing with something similar?  

"Make sure to get the help that you need because if you feel like you don’t need help or that you feel that you can deal with this alone, always reach out to someone whether that is a family member, friend, colleague, someone you trust or an expert because believe me, you need it!"

 

Student #4 Anonymous 

Why did you need help, support or advice?? 

"I was attending the university for my Master’s degree and on top of writing my dissertation (and being a perfectionist doing so), my father-in-law died. I was crumbling and could barely function." 

Which service did you use and how did it help? 

"Initially, I went to my GP and was given good advice to use the counselling service at my university because it wouldn’t take as long to access as counselling through the NHS.

"I did access the counselling service through the university, and whilst it was nowhere near solving all my problems, I felt better knowing that there was someone to listen to me- someone independent of all the issues I was dealing with.  

"Additionally, I applied for extenuating circumstances, even though I felt guilty doing so (a father-in-law dying and depression couldn’t be a better reason, though, right?), and this allowed me the breathing room to deal with everything on my plate and still succeed. In the end, I managed a distinction on my dissertation, but 100% this would not have been possible if I hadn’t reached out for support."

The Advice Centre by BCUSU offers information, advice and representation on a range of academic issues, including Extenuating Circumstances. (If illness, personal problems, etc affect your studies you can apply to defer an assessment or request a coursework extension.)

What would you say to other students dealing with something similar? 

"Because of the messages society sends us, it’s not an easy thing to reach out for help; however, the fact is we all need help at some point in our lives. No person is an island. It’s actually incredibly brave to take that first step of asking for help."

Anything else you'd like to add: 

"There is the same support available at BCU as I accessed during my university degree. BCU has a counselling service and an extenuating circumstances procedure. Don’t be afraid to access them if you’re struggling."

 

Student #5 Jade 

Why did you need help, support or advice? 

"I had developed General Anxiety after the death of my aunty. My whole life I’ve always had a fear/ anxiety regarding death and existence itself, but following my aunties death I was having panic attack, struggling to function, it was interfering with my thoughts almost all day everyday, and also struggling to sleep.  

"I carried on everyday because I wasn’t going to let it beat me and live like that, but I very much was having an out of body experience where I kept going, but felt like I was viewing myself from the outside, looking back I’m not even sure how I did some of the tasks I did at the time."

Which service did you use and how did it help? 

"I started using Headspace first which I had seen advertised on YouTube many times before (As I’m sure others have too) which really helped me. And as time went on I learned so many lessons that I use to this day. 
  
"Within the first week of my second year I spoke to my course director, and explained what had been going on and that I needed help. He pointed me to our SSA at the time and the SSA helped me fill out the form for Mental Health and Wellbeing.  

"My first session was just discussing more about me and what was going on so they can identify what help I might need which was counselling and a student support statement.  

"What’s great about BCU mental health and wellbeing is they recognise not every counsellor is right for everyone. I was lucky that when I went for my first session not only did I find the right person, but I didn’t needed another session, though I could if I wanted. This was because the counsellor helped me understand what the underline problem was and why I was suffering, and helped me understand myself. 

"I also went to the doctor, as I need that for my student support statement, who recognised that I was battling General Anxiety, and offered different ways to help such as medication which I decided against as I wanted to try and get through it myself.    

"All of this help put in the foundations which led me to a better way of life. I’m not cured, and will never be unfortunately, but I’m better which is the most important thing and I can manage my anxiety." 

What would you say to other students dealing with something similar?  

"The biggest thing to remember is everyone is different, and as someone who suffers with anxiety I know one of the biggest things you tell yourself is “Someone else has it worse than me” which can sometimes stop you from reaching out, talking and getting support, and it can be so difficult to get past that thought.  

"But you need to remember pain is relevant to you, no one can take that away, no one can tell you otherwise, no one can measure what you’re feeling. Someone losing a family pet could feel exactly the same as someone losing a family member. 

"Don’t be afraid to speak up, don’t be afraid to get support, for it does not make you any less human, in fact it makes you so much more stronger."     

Anything else you'd like to add: 

"Something I learned from my headspace meditations, about helping with your thoughts; The mind is like a busy road, and the cars represent the thoughts you’re thinking and your task is to just to sit and watch the road and let the cars past by, but sometimes we see a thought we don’t like so we end up trying to chase that thought or even try and stop it all together, which makes our mind all the more busy. And it can be incredibly hard to not do that, so every time a thought pops up that makes me uneasy or starts to trigger my anxiety I’ll take deep breaths and say “Okay, I’ve just thought of that, it’s there, I’m going to acknowledge that thought and now just let it pass by” and carry on concentrating on my breathing. 

"Now I know it won’t help everyone always, but it might help someone."

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You're reading ‘Alright Bab!’ a blog written by our students, for our students.

Obviously during current circumstances we’d like blogs that can help your fellow students; for example, tips on how to cope, what you’re finding to do to amuse yourself, ideas to stay healthy, your mental health etc. The list is endless!

We’ll also ‘put a spotlight’ on blog posts that really impress us, where we’ll be paying the writer £20! If you want to contribute, just  email your blog post here . We’ll ‘put a spotlight’ on a different blog every fortnight.