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Health and wellbeing

  • I want to keep myself healthy

At #TeamMDX, we encourage you to look after your health proactively by engaging in self-care to look after your wellbeing. According to the World Health Organisation, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Your wellbeing at university is broadly affected by a number of factors:

  1. Your health – both physical and mental
  2. Your leisure time and activities
  3. Your studies
  4. Your identity and community
  5. Your career and employment prospects

To keep yourself healthy through your time at university then, you need to develop healthy self-care routines. Self-care can mean different things to different people.

Self-care could be

  • Setting up a consistent sleep routine that takes 4 weeks to establish, starting with a review of your sleep hygiene​
  • Setting a three month physical health goal​
  • Cooking nutritious meals most nights of the week​
  • Exploring your concerns with a therapist, if applicable​
  • Starting a medication regime, if applicable​
  • Talking to someone about how you are feeling​
  • Admitting that you are 'not ok' and writing down your goals for what you will do about this​
  • Seeking financial support to create a plan​
  • Making an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP -find more on this below)
  • Exploring your spirituality and faith ​
  • Establishing your identity​
  • Getting in a mindfulness or meditation routine (have you seen the free resources on Kanopy?)
  • Asking for help with caring responsibilities​
  • Setting boundaries – at home, at work, in relationships

Then watch this 5 minute video on the effects of social media on our wellbeing https://fast.wistia.net/embed/channel/arjpl699u0?wchannelid=arjpl699u0&wmediaid=nbjgibkuvo


  • I want to know more about self care

When we talk about self-care then, you may find the information on these pages useful, or you may wish to seek support with other areas not explicitly mentioned on this page, such as financial support and support through MDXworks, which you can find elsewhere on UniHub. All areas of our health and wellbeing are related, so while you will find information in different categories on this page, this is for readability and is not set in stone.

The Student Health Guide gives a great introduction to keeping well as well as giving you information on MDX and MDXSU support available to keep you thriving.

A webinar on settling in

Watch this webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Vanessa, and MDX student and SLA Luana on settling in and making connections with #TeamMDX.

A webinar on time management

If you are finding it hard to balance multiple responsibilities, you are not alone! Watch this webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator Vanessa and MDX postgraduate student and communications team member Evana on how to manage effectively manage your time and hear their top tips:

A weekly event to help you to feel more comfortable meeting people online.

Life Skills Series: Join an online community with UniHelp. These days, we are all learning how to make connections with people virtually. This is an important life skill as virtual meetings and remote work are likely to be more widely accepted moving forwards. We know it can be hard to adjust to this way of studying and working, so you are invited to come along for a chat to meet new friends and staff from MDXSU, UniHelp and other departments. You are also welcome to just come along for some company, a chat and to get used to making connections with people online. There will be no obligation to turn cameras on or chat if you don’t want to – this will be a safe place and you can contribute as much or as little as you like. Find the session on events.

A webinar on keeping well

Watch this webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Vanessa, and MDX student and MDX Ambassador Abdelrahman on keeping well as a new student arriving to Middlesex.

Find out more tips for self-care from MIND

A webinar on loneliness

It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. Watch this 45 second clip on loneliness, then watch this longer webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator Vanessa and MDX postgraduate student and communications team member Evana on how to manage loneliness at university.

Wellbeing apps and platforms

There are a number of wellbeing apps and platforms that MDX has invested in to support you to look after your wellbeing.

Watch this webinar for a summary of the platforms available to you with Student Wellbeing Coordinator Vanessa and MDX student and SLA Luana

You have free and exclusive access to Fika, a mental fitness app. It's designed to be used for a few minutes each day to maintain and develop your mental fitness skills: confidence, positivity, focus, connection, meaning, motivation and stress management.

You also have exclusively free access to Togetherall, an online support platform that gives you the opportunity to connect emotionally and anonymously with others, in a safe forum with 24/7 moderation by trained professionals. Togetherall is great if you want a ‘deeper dive’ into your mental health and wellbeing.

UNIHEADS is a 20 minute online mental health training course. You’ll learn how to look after yourself, how to support a friend, and how to stay well in light of COVID-19.

Miindset is an app which has been made free for university students. It is designed to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing by giving you tailored mental health and wellbeing content thanks to the Miindset Wellness Checker and clever AI. You can take your personalised support with you anywhere, with zero wait time, whenever you need it. Miindset is on a mission to change mental health and wellbeing provision amongst the global student population.’

All these apps and platforms can be used independently to help you to stay feeling at your best through your time at MDX, or in conjunction with formal therapeutic support. Find out more about the platforms and how to access them.

  • I want to know what health services to use when

I want to register with a GP/doctor

We recommend registering with a General Practitioner (GP) or doctor as soon as you arrive at Middlesex or the UK. It's important not to wait before you're ill to do this. GPs are often the first point of contact and can refer you to more specialist care should you need it. If you are moving from another GP in England, your new GP should have access to your previous health records. The NHS has more information on getting medical care as a student. If you are an international student, visit the international students and healthcare page.

The Uni Doctor

The Uni Doctor are located in Wembley and provide:

  • Quick registration in just a few minutes to any MDX student living in London
  • Option of telephone or in-person appointments
  • Video consultations from your mobile phone
  • SMS/Email communication
  • Multilingual including English, Hindi, Gujarati, Arabic, Portuguese
  • Access to booking appointments / medical advice via AskNHS

Watch this webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Vanessa, and Lead Partner GP, Arun Notaney, from The Uni Doctor. They answer your questions on how you can register for a GP, why it’s so important, what vaccinations you should make sure you’re up to date with, what kinds of things your GP can support you with, and how to register for The Uni Doctor.

You don’t have to register with The Uni Doctor, though.  You might like to register with a GP that’s closer to where you live in London.

  • I want to learn about additional health services

    • Use a pharmacist if

      You need  advice and over-the-counter treatments for minor ailments like aches and pains, coughs and colds, infections and viruses, allergies, minor injuries, skin conditions and more, saving a visit to the doctor’s surgery.

      There’s no need for an appointment.

      Opening hours tend to be Monday – Friday but this may vary.

    • Use your GP

      Your GP should be your first point of contact for health issues that you can’t treat yourself with the help of your local pharmacy or information on NHS.uk.

      Opening hours tend to be Monday-Friday but this may vary.

    • Call 111 if

      You need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency.

      You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service. You don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call. You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

      Opening hours: 24/7, 365

    • Use a hospital A&E

      An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies. A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment.

      Opening hours: 24/7,

      365

    • NHS walk-in centres

      Urgent care centres can provide you with urgent medical attention for injuries that are not life threatening. You can simply turn up at an urgent care centre without an appointment, although you may have to wait.

    • Finding a dentist
    • Call 999

      For immediate, life-threatening emergencies and where you cannot go to A&E yourself.

      Opening hours: 24/7, 365

    • Pharmacies

      Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and are able to give you advice and recommend treatments on minor ailments such as colds, coughs and sprains. You do not need to register or book an appointment to receive treatment at a pharmacy and they are often open later in the day than GP practices.

      If your Pharmacist is not able to support you, they will signpost you to your GP.

      The closest Pharmacy to our campus is:

      C K Pharmacy, 9 Church Road
      Hendon, London
      NW4 4EB

      Tel: 020 8203 1007

      Hours: 9.00am to 7.00pm weekdays | 9.00am to 2.00pm Saturdays | Closed on Sundays.

I am an international student and I'm not sure what healthcare I'm entitled to

As an international student, you will only be able to register with an NHS practice if you are enrolled on a full-time course that lasts for more than six months. If your country does not offer reciprocated treatment with the UK, you should take out insurance.

If you're able to, it's important that you register with a GP as soon as you can after arriving in the UK. Your new GP will process your registration and can provide you with an NHS number which you will need to have hospital treatment or if you need to be referred to a specialist.

We recommend that your inform your home doctor that you are moving to the UK and to ask if you need any vaccinations. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, please ask your home doctor to write a letter explaining these along with any medication you are receiving (this could include a copy of your prescription with English translation if required).

You can pass this information to your new GP in the UK as this will help to ensure continuity in your treatment. To find out more about access to healthcare services as an international student, visit the international student healthcare page.

I am a UK student but need to travel to Europe – what healthcare am I entitled to?

You should take out medical insurance to cover the duration of your visit/stay. If you have an EHIC, it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to replace it. This lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance. You can use a GHIC or an EHIC if you’re travelling to an EU country.

You cannot use a GHIC or an existing EHIC in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. You’ll need travel insurance with healthcare cover.

If you're not sure what health service you need, download the Ask NHS app (available on Android and Apple) to check your symptoms and get guidance on the best service for you. Look at our guide below for which healthcare service to use when.

  • I want to improve my physical health

Studies have shown that being physically active not only helps to maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure and supports normal muscle and bone strength, but also  helps mental health in many ways including improved mood, reduced stress, increased self-esteem, prevention/management of depression and anxiety.

Making sure you're keeping yourself physically healthy is an important part of your wellbeing. Public Health England have some important information on staying physically well as a student in this  PHE Fact sheet.

There are many different ways you can look to improve your physical health. Here are a few of our tips:

  • Join MDXMoves (more below!)
  • Take a listen to this Joe Wicks podcast series on his secrets to physical fitness
  • Try to do 150 mins per week of moderate intensity activity (such as a brisk walk) or 75 mins of vigorous intensity activity (such as high intensity interval training). This works out to about 20 minutes per day
  • Try to move regularly throughout the day when you are studying, even if it’s just to get a drink from your kitchen
  • Try doing something that builds strength twice a week - this could include carrying shopping, lifting weights, body weight exercises (such as push -ups), gardening, simple balances or yoga
  • If you have a long term condition, disability or are pregnant or have recently given birth, speak to your GP about what exercises are most suitable for you
  • Try the Couch to 5k programme for beginners, and make sure you log your steps with MDXMoves (more on that below)
  • Do an active or even ”pretend” commute if you’re working from home and use the time to move
  • Stand up more regularly – walk around or explore using a raised desk Ten quick ideas for employees
  • Get active with a friend online or in accordance with Government guidelines - exercising together can be great way to catch up and increase motivation and enjoyment

I want to know more about MDX and MDXSU activities to keep myself physically healthy

Life Skills Series: stress management through yoga

Part of our Life Skills Series – a series of events and webinars to give you skills to thrive through life - learn how to manage stress through yoga techniques in these beginner friendly yoga sessions weekly with Jo, Wednesdays 11:00 – 12:30. Please register in advance, and join via events.

What our students have to say about the sessions:

Angela Sorensen, PhD student:

''I first started doing the Yoga for Mental Wellbeing with Jo after seeing a flier for it at uni.  My first session was in-person and it brought so much physical and mental relief that I was determined to make it part of my regular routine.  And then the pandemic hit.  Everything switched to online; a challenge but one surmountable with the right support.  For almost the past year I have kept up the practice largely in part to Jo's excellent teaching abilities.

As a beginner in yoga, I've found this class very accessible with a focus on proper technique and gentle encouragement.  It's been my saving grace mentally and physically.  Not only has it helped me find some mental calming and clarity, but Jo's teaching has inspired me to keep up the practice.  I now find myself practicing yoga 1-2 times a week outside of our regular class schedule.  Practicing yoga with Jo has been the thing I look forward to each week; a huge highlight for me in these otherwise challenging times''

Aleksandra Peczek, BSc Nutrition with Foundation Year:

I found Joanna’s yoga classes on one of the MDX student groups and thought it could be a nice way to incorporate some physical activity into the lockdown routine. It turned out to be a fantastic experience. After spending all days sitting in front of the computer it’s a great way to relax, stretch, take a break from the screens, and give yourself a good start to a productive day.

I’m an absolute newbie to yoga, but Joanna is very attentive and explains all poses in detail so no need to be ashamed.

Join MDX Moves

MDXMoves is a way of getting rewarded for being physically active! Walk, run, cycle, and stay active to get points. When added up, your points can then be redeemed for a variety of goodies from on campus retailers as well as high street and sports brands.

Free sports activities from MDX 

Every week sports offer a timetable of free virtual activities for you to tap into. Find out more https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/student-life/sport/exercise-classes

  • I want to make healthier food choices

Being away from home can be the perfect opportunity to indulge in new foods and feed your sweet tooth. But just like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet can make a world of difference to your studies and to your mood. Research shows that what we eat has a direct impact on not only brain function and your mood. Here are 5 ways the food you eat affects your brain

Aside from your health, it's a lot more cost effective to cook from scratch than it is to buy ready meals or eat out. And make sure you check and compare own brands to branded food items because in blind taste tests, people often can't taste the difference. If you're on the hunt for some easy and healthy recipes and advice, Nourished Life and Eat Well have some good pointers.

If you are looking for recipe ideas, check out some brain-boosting meal ideas at Tesco’s students recipesBBC’s student recipes,  and Buzzfeed’s roundup of 19 recipes you can make in a microwave. Juggling caring responsibilities, work and study and find it tricky to find the time to cook? Why not try meal prepping? Here are some starting points:

The NHS has also launched Better Health – a programme with tools and support to help you reach your health goals. The NHS also offers Eat Well – a selection of resources to help you to develop healthy eating habits.

https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/__data/assets/image/0026/575054/Better-health.jpg

If you are concerned that you or a loved one has an unhealthy attitude towards food, check out NHS resources and BEAT, an eating disorder charity, and book an appointment with your GP to discuss support available. Don’t forget about support available through the Counselling and Mental Health team, too.

  • I want to know more about sexual health

Your sexual health is another vital part of your wellbeing and is nothing to be embarrassed about. Just like your physical and mental health, you can take care of it through self awareness and taking precautions. However, if you're worried or if something has happened that you did not give consent for, there's plenty of support for you.

If you are sexually active, consider the need to:

- Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are sexually active, it's a good idea to be tested regularly for STIs. You can get tested for STIs at Sexual Health Clinics and certain pharmacies. They can also provide information and advice on sex, contraception and personal relationships.

- Use contraception to protect yourself from STIs and unplanned pregnancy (if applicable). Using contraception is the best way to protect against pregnancy although they are not 100% effective so make sure you understand how your particular one works.

- Develop confidence to talk about sexual health with your partner and GP

Sexual health services

You can get support and information regarding sexual health from:

- Your doctor (GP) can provide information and free contraception and STI checks

- Your local sexual health clinics such as Sexual Health London or Brook can provide information and free contraception and STI checks

- Sexwise – honest advice about contraception, pregnancy, STIs and pleasure

- The NHS – their sexual health pages provide information on general sexual health and STIs

- The Barnet Gov website has some really good resources and advice. There are options to speak to somebody on the phone, to receive advice and support, and to receive postal kits. There is also information on how to seek support with your sexual health in light of COVID-19.

- The Sexual Health Line on 0300 123 7123 or NHS 111

I want to know more about cancer screens and self checking

Cervical screening tests

All women over the age of 25 in England will receive a letter from their doctor every three years to remind them to book an appointment for their cervical screening test (sometimes referred to as ‘smear test’). This is a quick and painless test to detect pre-cancerous changes in cells from the cervix (neck of the womb). Early cell abnormalities can be picked up and monitored or treated and eliminated to prevent progression to actual cancer. It's really important to register with a doctor and keep your details up to date so that you can ensure you get regular smear tests.

Breast and testicular cancer: self-examination

Get into the habit of checking yourself on a monthly basis to look for any changes, swelling, pain, lumps or bumps. For more information visit the ‘What should my testicles look and feel like?’ or the how should I check my breasts? pages.

Infertility & IVF

If you are experiencing In vitro fertilisation (IVF) we recognise that this may be a particularly challenging time for you. Please reach out to university services for support. You may also find the following resources helpful:

You may find this podcast series from the BBC called Sex, Drugs and Lullabies interesting and supportive.

I want to know more about consent

Just because you give permission for one thing to happen, like a kiss, doesn't mean you've automatically consented to other kinds of sexual behaviour. The same goes for your partner – always ask, never presume. It's important that everyone involved in any type of sexual activity has freely given their full consent. Similarly, if you've given consent previously, your partner shouldn't assume that you've consented to sexual activity at any time in the future.

And you're allowed to change your mind – don't feel you must continue if you don't want to and do let your partner know you're not happy to carry on. You can stop at any point during sexual activity.

Consent cannot be given by anyone under the age of 16 in the UK.

Communicating consent

Lack of consent may not always be communicated verbally. If your partner pulls away from you, tries to push you away or seems uncomfortable in any way during sexual contact, ask them if they're okay to continue. If you're the one feeling uncomfortable, say so. Without your full consent, your partner should know not to continue. It might be easier to start by saying something like 'Can we just take a break for a moment and talk about this?'

New relationships

Sexual consent can be cloudy in new relationships. When you meet someone new, be open to discussing your boundaries with each other. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but you'll be able to be more open and trusting with each other once you're on the same page. And that makes for a much better relationship.

Remember, not all sexual relationships are portrayed realistically in the media and online, especially in porn. When approaching a new relationship, remember that consent is rarely displayed in porn and your partner shouldn't be expected to perform in the same way either.

Lack of capacity to consent

If drugs or alcohol are a factor in your sexual activity, consent can be harder to be sure of. If you or your partner are under the influence of any substances, you and they may be unable to make informed decisions and you should shop engaging in any form of sexual activity.

I want to know more about sexual violence or harassment

Rape Crisis England and Wales describes sexual violence as 'any kind of unwanted sexual act or activity, including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and many others'. This means that any sexual activity without consent is deemed as sexual violence, and is a criminal act. Respect the boundaries of others, and be free to voice your concerns if you're uncomfortable in a situation so others can respect you. If you experience any kind of unwanted sexual act or activity and your boundaries weren't respected, speak to Care and Concern or if it’s an emergency call the police.

Citizen's Advice describes sexual harassment as 'unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which:

  • violates your dignity
  • makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
  • creates a hostile or offensive environment'

If you experience or witness any kind of sexual harassment, report it to Report.It.To.Stop.It at the university or if it's an emergency call the police.

I want to know more about emergency contraception

If you've had unprotected sex or the contraception failed, you can get emergency contraception for free from your GP, most NHS walk in centres, sexual health clinics, some hospital A&E departments and Brook centres (if you are under 25). Certain pharmacies also offer emergency contraception but there may be a charge for it.

I want to know more about pregnancy and my options

Take a look at our dedicated support page here and read the university’s policy to find out how we can support you. Taking a home pregnancy test can tell you if you're pregnant. You can buy pregnancy tests from most pharmacies or supermarkets or get one for free from sexual health clinics and Brook centres.

If the test is positive, you should make an appointment with your GP who will be able to confirm the result, explain the next steps and talk you through your options going forward.

Pregnancy can have an effect on your studies, completing placements, taking exams or meeting deadlines.

This Mum Moves gives guidance and support to help women to be active during and after pregnancy.

There are many charities and companies who also offer sexual health advice. FPA is one such charity that provides information around sexual health, relationships and topics such as consent, disability and sex.

Marie Stopes have a number of resources to talk you through your pregnancy options, including a 24 hour support line. FPA have published an information booklet about different pregnancy options and support available. offers free sexual health information and contraception to people under 25.

  • I want to improve my sleep

It's important that you try to keep a good sleep routine, especially around important deadlines and exams. Watch this 5 minute life hack video on how to supercharge your sleep.

Here are some sleep tips:

  • You might feel tempted to pull an ‘all nighter’ before an exam but research shows you need between 6 to 9 hours of sleep to function properly. This varies from person to person
  • The same goes for naps. While some people can nap for 20 minutes, feel refreshed and still sleep well at night, they don’t work at all for other people
  • The amount of sleep you get also affects your ability to properly encode memories i.e. what you've just spent the day studying!
  • What you do through the day affects your ability to sleep at night. Doing some physical activity, eating a balanced diet, not drinking caffeine in the afternoons, and getting enough daylight in the mornings can help
  • Routine is really important when it comes to your sleep. Try sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends
  • Try a sleep podcast to help you nod off
  • UNIHEADS have written a blog on how to make your sleep your superpower!
  • Togetherall have a self-help course on improving sleep which you may like to explore

If you find yourself struggling with sleep longer term and this is getting in the way of your daily activities, speak with your GP. The NHS also has some more information.

  • I want to know more about how to improve my mental health

Student Mental Health Wellbeing Survey

Please help us improve the quality of student mental health during university life. This survey is being conducted by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. We aim to explore your awareness of well-being services, access, experience and satisfaction on the initial support you receive and impact on challenges students face when coping with long-term conditions at university.

  • About the survey

    • Why take part?

      We are interested in knowing more about:

      • Your awareness about university Enabling Services and access to this support when needed.
      • Your general health and perceived social support and loneliness while at University
      • Your experience and satisfaction with the Enabling Services.
      • Where you go for further information/support.
    • What are we looking for

      All students enrolled at University in:

      • Undergraduate years 1-6 and
      • Postgraduate students.

      All full-time, part-time and distance learning postgraduate taught students are eligible to complete the survey (including but not limited toMA, MSc, PGCE, PGCert, PG Dip courses, or credits at PGT level).

    • What's involved?

      An online questionnaire (approximately 15 minutes)

      At the end of the survey you will have the option to enter into a prize draw by providing your email address in order to participate in a prize draw for a chance to win a £20 Amazon vouchers (10 winners).

  • Click here to open the Online Questionnaire

    Please help us improve the quality of student mental health during university life. This survey is being conducted by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. We aim to explore your awareness of well-being services, access, experience and satisfaction on the initial support you receive and impact on challenges students face when coping with long-term conditions at university.

  • Confidentiality
    Please be assured that any information will be anonymised, treated confidentially and used solely for research purposes. The responses received will inform on-going engagement with student health and wellbeing as well as future strategies.
    If you would like to take part and have any questions or comments, please contact Dr Peter Phiri, Chief Investigator: peter.phiri@southernhealth.nhs.uk

Like your physical health, you can support your mental health by developing self-care habits like eating well, getting enough sleep, moving your body, but also by talking about how you are feeling, keeping in touch with people you care about, asking for help when you need it and doing things that bring you joy. You can read this useful guide from the Charlie Waller foundation on starting university and keeping well.

Like with any routine, you need to find habits that work for you and make you feel good mentally. This will be different for everyone. Here are a few ideas:

  • Try getting into a gratitude habit. Did you know that noting down what you are grateful for every day, no matter how small, has a positive effect on wellbeing? Try a free app like Presently to keep you on track and to get ideas for ways to find things to be grateful for
  • Have you tried a mindful breathing exercise before? Why not try this 3 minute one and do it every night before bed, or any other time you need to relax. There are a number of mindfulness exercises available to you via Kanopy
  • Explore these NHS resources on looking after yourself
  • Watch these short podcasts called ‘Man up’ on expectations on men and mental health
  • Perhaps it would be useful for you to visit your GP to talk about your mental health and getting some additional support? If you aren’t sure how to talk to your GP about your mental health, read this short article from the Mental Health Foundation which gives you some tips
  • Perhaps it would be useful for you to speak with the Counselling and Mental Health team?
  • I want to know more about student support

Though we provide you with the tools to keep yourselves well, we recognise that you may need additional support from us. Our Student Support and Wellbeing teams are on hand for just that.

You can refer yourself for support to the Counselling and Mental Health service, or if you're immediately concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a fellow student you should follow the Care and Concern procedure. If you witness any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation, violence or any other form of hate, you should call it out by reporting it to Report.It.To.Stop.It.

For an overview of student support available at Middlesex, watch this webinar with Vanessa, Student Wellbeing Coordinator:

Sometimes, a barrier to getting the help you need is recognising that you need some help and then asking for it. Watch this webinar with Student Wellbeing Coordinator Vanessa and MDX postgraduate student and communications team member Evana on asking for help.

I’m worried about a friend’s mental health

It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where a friend may be struggling with their mental health and you want to support them but not know where to start. Why not watch a short webinar on the topic with Student Wellbeing Coordinator Vanessa and Postgraduate student Evana who offer some tips and advice:

It would also be useful to take the short UNIHEADS mental health training which has a whole section on how to support a friend with their mental health.

The team at UNIHEADS have also written this article with some tips on how to look after your friend.

Don't forget that if you are concerned about the conduct, health, wellbeing and safety of another student, you can report this to our Care and Concern team for support.

.

Look out for your mates

Over the past few weeks, many of us have a lot of time on our hands and plenty of opportunities to socialise with our friends or family using technology. Facetime, Zoom and Skype calls have become a temporary norm and have allowed us to stay connected. But, they never fully replace the richness of a face-to-face interaction with the people you care about most.

The easing of some lockdown restrictions are now enabling more face-to-face time, but how can we all look out for friends whilst physically distanced? It can be hard to know if a friend is struggling, especially when you see them less frequently or over a video call. However, there may be some warning signs that you can look (and listen) out for.

First of all, trust your hunch. You know your friends and family better than most, if you suspect that something is not quite right, then back your judgement.

In the current circumstances, the most common way that you will learn of a friend who might be struggling, will be during conversations with them. Try to take note of any noticeable changes relating to mood or behaviours.

Crucially, try to listen intently when you do connect, so that you can help understand the feelings, thoughts and emotions that they are experiencing at the moment.

  • Here are 3 simple steps you look out for a friend who you may be concerned about

    • 1. Connect

      If you think that a friend may be struggling, make time to start the conversation with them. You’re not expected to have all the answers or to know exactly what to say. Beforehand, ensure you have enough time to talk to avoid putting time pressures on the conversation.

      Wherever possible, avoid starting an impromptu chat at times that are particularly difficult or stressful and so that you have time to prepare. Also, aim to have the conversation when it is just the two of you as this will be less intimidating for your friend.

      During the conversation, be sensitive, and show them that you care.  Aim to ask open questions that allows your friend space to help encourage them to open up.

    • 2. Listen

      This is the most important aspect of connecting with your friend. During the conversation, be positive, seek to reassure and avoid dismissing their problems. Most importantly, let them talk. By giving your friend the opportunity to talk, you are showing them that they are not alone.

      Use reflective language to show your support and keep the conversation flowing. For example; 'It sounds as if...' or 'It seems that'...

      If they confide in you, try not to act shocked or surprised as this could make your friend feel uncomfortable.

    • 3. Support

      Being there for your friend is crucial, but don’t worry about giving advice, you’re just there to listen and support. You are not expected to have all of the answers or to be able to solve all of their problems for them.

      Come up with a way forward together, offer your support at the time and follow up with a supportive text or call afterwards to check in. Remember, you can’t help with everything. Whilst maintaining the confidence of your friend, ensure you are getting any support that you may need as it can be tough looking out for others.

      For further advice with how supporting your friends, visit Student Minds and contact your university student services.

I want to know more about our LGBTQIA+ community and how I can be an ally

Coming to university is an exciting and liberating time, but you may be feeling anxious about your identity. Perhaps you are not ‘out’ to your peers, perhaps you aren’t ready, perhaps you don’t have the support of your family. Or maybe you are ‘out and proud’! Either way, we want you to know that at #TeamMDX we accept you just as you are.

I want to know more about support around domestic abuse

We recognise that domestic abuse is a widespread problem that can affect victims both physically and mentally. It is not restricted to purely impacting on an individual’s personal life.

We are committed to highlighting the support that is available to those that are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

I want to know about information for my supporters (family and friends)

Starting university is a wonderful time for students and we're committed to providing a supportive and welcoming environment, promoting good health and wellbeing for all. Moving away from home and coming to university marks a period of transition for them but also for you as their parent, carer or guardian.

Find out how we support students

#TeamMDX wellbeing toolkit

To keep yourself thriving through your time at university, you need to develop healthy self-care routines and build up a wellbeing toolkit of resources and activities which you can draw upon.

Your wellbeing toolkit is a resource or a collection of resources which help to tip the scales upwards. Be mindful of stressors and challenges which can tip the wellbeing scale downwards. In more challenging times, you will need to counteract this by working especially hard to keep yourself well.

Visit our #TeamMDX Wellbeing Toolkit page for more information

Infectious diseases

We have put together key information on the most common contagious and infectious diseases to help you keep healthy.

Support if you are pregnant or taking on caregiving responsibilities through a partner’s pregnancy, through fostering or adoption

Here you'll find the information you need on how we can support you during this time, and also what’s expected of you.

Find out more

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