This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is loneliness. The exam period can be an isolating time. With assessments looming and you and your friends might be working to different schedules, and studying for long periods of time.
With this in mind, we have listed some practical ways to address any thoughts or feelings of isolation and to make sure you take regular breaks from studying.
One great way to address feelings of loneliness is by volunteering. Volunteering allows you to take a break from revision and meet likeminded people working towards a common goal. At the university we have the Volunteer Hub, where you can find opportunities to get involved with such as gardening and litter picking. Ensure that you are following @uomvolunteering on Instagram too for regular updates.
Another way to combat loneliness is by getting involved in events or trying something new and it’s never too late in the year to try. At the university there are over 300 different societies – take a look at the Students Union website to find out about each society and how to get involved.
The Wellbeing team have a put together a range of events this week from taking a joint break over cake (or hummus – yes really!) to helping you challenge unhelpful thoughts. If you’re in halls, don’t forget to check out the ResLife calendar of events and meet new people in and around your accommodation.
This can be a really busy time of year but it’s so important to take regular breaks to support your wellbeing and connecting with others is a great way to do this. Ensure to keep in touch with friends and plan some activities to enjoy post exam period.
If you are struggling and need a bit more support with the way that you are feeling you can access the Student Support website where there are lots of resources to help you, from NHS guidebooks to more information on the Six Ways to Wellbeing.
If you feel as though you need to speak to someone, there are a range of services that are available to you. Nightline is a confidential listening and information service run for students by students, offering anonymous, non judgemental and non-directive support, regardless of the situation. You might also want to sign up for the SU Buddy Scheme where you will be matched with a fellow student who can check in with you. For more support, you can contact the university Counselling and Mental Health Service or the 24/7 Health Assured Mental Health Helpline. No student deserves to feel lonely or isolated and you are never alone.
Mental Health Awareness Week also gives us the opportunity to check in with others. If you notice that a friend might be isolating themselves or feeling lonely, reach out to them and let them know that you’re here for them. Why not read our Time to Talk Day article for suggestions on how to start a conversation or you could also invite them to any activities you have planned. Remember that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.