It’s Mental Health Awareness Week: Here’s how you can access welfare support

Because Durham actually has some amazing resources


In 2017, The Durham Tab conducted a survey on student mental health within the University. A staggering 54 per cent of respondents said that they have suffered from a mental illness of some sort.

This week is 2019’s Mental Health Awareness Week across the UK (Monday 13th – Sunday 19th May). Hosted annually by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001, each year it focuses on a different topic or quality that might contribute to a deterioration in our mental health.

This year's chosen topic is 'body image', and strives to encourage us to think and feel about our bodies in a more positive light.

Revision can often seem like an absolute minefield, but we've spoken with college welfare to see if we can get some tips on how to avoid burning out.

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Photo via Facebook @Collingwood Welfare

Alisa Anwar, Vice President of Welfare at Van Mildert told The Durham Tab: "It's important to make sure you're eating properly and staying hydrated. Set aside some time each day to do something other than revision (even if it's just chatting to your housemates over dinner).

"Talk to someone. Mildert's Talk and Support, like all other college welfare teams, are here because we want to help anyone who is worried, stressed or upset during exams! But it can be simply talking to your housemates, or members of college staff."

If it isn't just exams stressing you out, these services might be able to help you if you’re finding it difficult to cope more generally:

College welfare (students)

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Via Facebook @grey.welfare

All colleges have a dedicated team of student volunteers who run campaigns all year round to encourage positive mental health and wellbeing. They can be contacted for a wide number of reasons – from sexual health advice and supplies, to information on alcohol and staying safe on nights out.

During exam season, a lot of colleges are providing additional resources to help alleviate any extra stress. Trevs are putting on a series of "Stress Less" events throughout the duration of exams, Chad's students can join a Facebook group, where they can share revision break activities, and Cuth's Welfare have even put together a series of Spotify playlists for you to revise to.

Student support staff within college

Each college has a designated, trained member of staff (or two), whose job it is to work with and support students encountering any issue that might impact their studies.

Anything from financial to personal matters can be discussed with them, and if you arrange a time to see them, they’ll be able to speak with you on a one-to-one basis, and direct you to additional support if they believe it might be beneficial. They have seen it all – no issue is too trivial or unconventional to bring up.

A list of contact details can be found here for student support officers within each college, although many colleges will have additional ways to contact them, such as an online appointment booking system which makes the process a bit easier. Newsletters and emails specific to your college should be able to clarify this further.

University-wide counselling and support

The University's main counselling service can offer sessions where you can talk about issues to do with your mental health or wellbeing more generally. Bear in mind the University recommends counselling after traumatic events, rather than during them.

The service is based at the Palatine Centre, and can be contacted by calling 0191 334 2200, or emailing counsel.service@dur.ac.uk.

A general comprehensive guide to the service, as well as advice on dealing with a crisis, or mental health and wellbeing issues can be found here.

The Students' Union

The SU currently offers an online advice service, which allows users to fill in a form explaining their issue. A member of staff will then respond with details on how they might go about solving it.

It tackles anything from troublesome housemates to concerns with managing money. Students can also provide supporting documentation for them to assess (such as a housing contract), and they'll be as scrupulous as they can in checking these.

Additionally, the SU has a series of bullying and harassment advisors whose contact details can be found here.

The SU also has an online wellbeing map, which has information on everything from disability support to leisure facilities to help you de-stress.

They also have a map with details on various study spaces available for use across Durham, for when the Billy B is too full for you to concentrate in.

Nightline

Nightline is available for all students during term time from 9pm-7am. It describes itself as a "confidential, non-directive, non-advisory, and non-judgmental listening service", and allows you to speak with another trained student anonymously.

Whether it's something serious, or a reassuring chat, volunteers at Nightline can be very useful in helping you see certain issues from a clearer perspective.

They can be contacted either by calling them, or via their instant messaging service here. In a pinch, their contact details can also be found on the back of your campus card, or on the DUO homepage.

Samaritans

The Samaritans offer a free and confidential 24/7 helpline to support people experiencing difficulties or who need crisis support.

They are free to call, and can be contacted on 116 123.

Medical contacts

Most Durham students will be registered at a GP here in Durham. Appointments can be made with your GP on the following:

University Health Centre: 0191 386 5081

Claypath Medical Centre: 0191 374 6888

In addition, contacts for the hospital can be found below:

Hospital: 0191 333 2333

GUM Clinic (Hospital): 0191 333 2660

NHS services can be a good choice if you really don't want to go via the University for advice, whether it's about concerns relating to your physical health or mental health.

Drug and alcohol support

The County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery services are a support network backed by many colleges, and can provide information on how you can make positive lifestyle changes, along with the support of professional staff.

Additional services

The above information is far from exhaustive, and of course, there are many other issues you can encounter during your time at uni.

Regardless of the issue, you can always contact your college, or central University counselling support, and they can lead you to specialist services in whichever area you might need them.

Below are just a few more contact details that might come in handy:

LGBT+ Association Welfare Officer: welfare@durhamlgbta.org.uk

Durham Trans Association Welfare Officer: trans.welfare@durhamlgbta.org.uk

Durham Working Class Students Association: durhamwcsa@gmail.com

Durham People of Colour Association: durhampoca@gmail.com

Durham Students with Disabilities: swd.a@durham.ac.uk

Durham Mature Students Association: du.matsa@durham.ac.uk

Durham International Students Association: international.students@durham.ac.uk

Durham Students with Disabilities:
swd.a@durham.ac.uk

Durham Mature Students Association:
du.matsa@durham.ac.uk

Durham International Students Association:
international.students@durham.ac.uk