Hi all, Harriet here! Well, this Mental Health Awareness Week sure is different from what we had planned for you all, but fear not, we've got some great stuff coming your way this week! I myself had planned to run a Wellness Fair in the Students' Union, inviting charities and companies to come along, set up stalls and tell you what they're all about. Sadly, this can't happen so instead I decided to gather up some useful information and resources to keep you going through lockdown.
First up is our very own Student Support Team, here at Plymouth College of Art. The team can help with a range of issues, including finance, welfare and disability. Every single student here at PCA has access to the wonderful range of support that the team provides, and during this period of digitisation, anyone can book a counsellor for a remote counselling session (done over Google Hangouts) through the Student Portal. To do so, simply just go to the Student Support section and click on ‘Counselling’ to find the link to book an appointment.
If you have any queries about welfare, you can talk to Susanna, who is able to provide you with key advice and information on a whole range of relevant student support concerns. If it’s disability information that you’re after or want to know how to access additional support through the Disabled Students Allowance, Michaela is the go-to and Eleonora is also providing online yoga sessions. If you have any concerns about finance, you can speak to Emily who can provide you with a hardship application form. Ethan is offering general wellbeing support, mindfulness and guided meditation, so contact him to book in for one of these sessions.
There are lots of other members of the Student Support Team, and there are different staff if you’re a Pre-Degree student, so check the Meet The Team page for more information!
Mind is a nationwide charity that provides support for those struggling with their mental health. They have localised branches across the UK, including the Oasis Day Centre here in Plymouth. Mind has helped to improve mental health servicing through campaigning as well as developing a wider awareness and understanding of mental health issues. We’re supporting Mind this Mental Health Awareness Week by donating all of the entries of our Quiz Night to them.
As part of the Rethink Mental Illness Step Up Universities project, students from across the UK collaborated to create a zine called Coping with COVID-19. The zine shares lots of tips on how to cope during the current pandemic and presents lots of ideas surrounding routine, anxiety, exercise and more as well as listing charities and other support networks still running during this time.
Calm is a movement against suicide and particularly male suicide, standing for Campaign Against Living Miserably. They run a free, confidential webchat and helpline 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year. They challenge male stereotypes by encouraging them to seek help and create personal positive change through art, music, sport and comedy.
You can reach calm nationwide at 0800 585858 or thought their webchat here.
The Blurt Foundation is a Plymouth-based social enterprise which is dedicated to helping those affected by depression. They help to raise awareness for depression as well as provide useful tools and information to help others understand it better, challenging the stigma that prevents people from speaking out and asking for help. Blurt have some amazing resources that you can download for free from their website, including worksheets, planners, prompts and are currently working with artists to provide free downloadable ‘quarazines’. Check them out and get involved here.
Samaritans is probably one of the most well-known areas of support for mental health because of their 24/7 helpline, but did you know that you can also write an email or a letter to the Samaritans too? Sometimes I find it’s easier to write feelings down on paper, so if there’s something you really want to get out, why not try sending them a letter? That being said, please do make sure to call them or the emergency services if you are in need of instant support. Call the Samaritans on 116 123 or write to them here.
I thought I’d close this blog post with the Mental Health Foundation, as they are the creators of Mental Health Awareness Week. This year they decided on the theme of ‘Kindness’ to celebrate the ways that we are all being kind during these unusual times, from Colonel Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts to children everywhere painting blue hearts and rainbows in support of our NHS and to spread joy to those walking by. I think since lockdown began I have noticed so many more acts of kindness, whether it’s because people have more time on their hands or simply that they’ve had more time to reflect, I hope it’s something that stays ingrained in our society for generations to come.
I hope that some of this was useful to you all and that you enjoy the other events we're running for Mental Health Awareness Month. I myself am Mental Health First Aid trained, so if you ever need somebody, you know where I am.
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