Your mental health is important. Sometimes your experience at university isn’t always what you might have expected, or you might feel like you’re struggling at times. We totally understand and we’re here for you. We’ve compiled a list of ways to look after your mental health whilst studying with us – including a list of various support services and resources available to you when you need them.
Your support network
Take some time out to socialise
You don’t need to spend all your time studying. It’s important to have a balance in your university life, and that includes making sure you’re socialising and seeing close friends when you can. Get away from the house and university to spend some time with your friends, or coursemates. Make plans to go out or stay in with your housemates. You can meet other students and socialise by:
- Checking out Students’ Union events
- Joining a society
- Visiting the Student Hub to find the latest activities and events on campus
Talk to your peers
Besides your close friends and classmates, sometimes we all need a little extra peer support. It can really help to have an objective ear listen as you talk through your problems. Rafiki Peer Support is the Students’ Union’s peer support listening service led by students, for students. If you’re experiencing any problems while you’re at university, you can talk to their student volunteers who offer support. They can also signpost you to on-campus and external support services. Book an appointment via the Student Union’s booking portal and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this service.
Plan trips home if you have moved away for uni (if that’s an option)
If you’re really missing home, you shouldn’t feel as if you’re trapped at university. Make sure that you’re returning home for some weekends, during holidays, or when you aren’t in lectures. Spending quality time with your loved ones is essential to improving your mental wellbeing and will make you feel rejuvenated when you return to university.
Extra support if you’re estranged from your family
Studying without a family or parental support network can be really tough, which can impact significantly on your wellbeing. If you’re an estranged student or care leaver that’s studying without family support, our Estranged Student Specialists can support you. By registering as an estranged student, the team can advise you on collecting evidence for estrangement, act as your third party for student finance (if necessary), and refer you to additional internal and external support. For more guidance around estrangement during higher education, you can visit the Student Support Portal at StandAlone.
Be aware of our Wellbeing team and Counselling service
If you need to get back on track with your wellbeing, our Wellbeing & Counselling team are here to offer support and point you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can make an appointment by filling out their online referral form.
There are times when you may have reached a point that feels hopeless or urgent. The Wellbeing & Counselling team have compiled crisis information where you can see all the avenues of support open to you. Find this information on the askUS website.
Download our wellbeing app
Have you downloaded our UoS Wellbeing App? The app helps to keep track of your wellbeing with useful tools designed to monitor your habits.
When you open the app, you’ll meet Charley, a private digital wellbeing coach, who will give you 1-1 support and advice about how to manage your mental health. There are also lots of resources available at your fingertips such as podcasts, mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, productivity tools and links to all of our University support services. The app is available to download on Apple iOS and Android devices.
Sign up to our on-campus GP
There are loads of great ways to make sure you’re doing your health favours when you’re with us, like making sure you’re registered with our on campus GP. It’s a good idea to do this, as they’re on hand for prescriptions and offer a number of online services in case you’re ever feeling under the weather. Once registered with the GP, you can access the full range of health and wellbeing support that is on offer. This includes face to face, telephone, video and online consultations. If you’re away from Salford, the NHS staff will still be able to provide you with healthcare.
Routines and healthy habits
Learn how to manage your money
Coming to university is a big financial commitment and it’s important to manage your money carefully. Money can have a huge impact on your mental health. We’ve created a free budget management calculator to help you identify your spending habits. You’ll also receive personalised tips to help improve your relationship with money.
If you have financial problems, there are many organisations that offer free and independent debt advice over the telephone or face to face. They can help you work out the best way to deal with your debts and answer any questions you have. While we aren’t licensed to provide debt advice, our Money Advice & Funds Service can guide you in the right direction. You can contact the team via email at email@example.com or by booking a one-to-one appointment via their online form.
Invest in yourself with some healthy living
Maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a great way to look after yourself; both physically and mentally. Eating a balanced diet, keeping hydrated, exercising, and getting a solid six to nine hours of sleep each night will enhance your chances of feeling rested, happy and exuberant.
For ideas on where to begin with cooking healthy yet delicious meals, check out Tesco, BBC Good Food and even student-dedicated recipe sites. They have lots of recipes for different preferences and budgets, and they all take being a student in mind.
Physical exercise is also a premium method of releasing endorphins and improving your mental health. Even small amounts working wonders for your body and mind. Check out our Sports Centre for some exercise classes and see what sport opportunities the Students’ Union offer.
Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Drinking may subdue our feelings of anxiety and stress but the effect is only temporary. Drinking is not a sensible way of managing difficult feelings, and excess drinking and hangovers will make you feel even worse. This isn’t to say you can’t let your hair down from time to time; just make sure that any excess drinking is done in moderation. The thing to remember here is balance. You don’t need to be teetotal to take care of your mental health but alcohol can have more of an effect than you realise.
Set up a study routine
Getting into a study routine is a great way of keeping on top of your mental health. Cramming all of your revision and work into the final days and weeks is a guaranteed stress-inducer. Instead make an early start on your reading list, research or revision notes, so you’re putting yourself in a prime position for sustained mental wellbeing. Creating a study routine that allows you to spread out your tasks and projects into smaller, manageable chunks will also put you on track to academic success. Pick up some study skills with the Library.
Learn new skills
This one may seem a little obscure but learning new skill(s) is also a proven way of improving your mental wellbeing. Extensive research shows that learning a new skill will boost your self-confidence, help you to build a sense of purpose and help you connect with others. Balancing studying with all other aspects of academic life is very time-consuming but there are lots of different ways to incorporate learning new skills into your life – even simple things like cooking a new dish, writing a blog or taking up a new sport. Take a look at LinkedIn Learning to see if you want to try developing a new digital skill. You can access it for free with your uni account (as long as you log in through the page we just linked to).
This isn’t a reminder to go and pop by the local ‘Go Outdoors’ shop (sorry folks), this is a reminder to go outside and spend some time in our great outdoors! Salford, along with Greater Manchester as a whole, has plenty of green spaces for you to explore. Salford itself is around 60% green space (including the beautiful Peel Park), so there are plenty of places to relax whilst grabbing some fresh air.
Getting a healthy dose of fresh air surrounded by nature is scientifically proven to enhance your mental wellbeing. Salford isn’t exactly notorious for bright blue skies, but if you are able to catch some sun, the vitamin D will help improve your mood as it enables the body to release endorphins and serotonin. Just make sure that if you are catching those sun rays, you’ve got sunglasses and sunscreen on hand.
Be in the present
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This awareness is otherwise known as “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Being in the present will allow you to address the challenges that matter now. It also reduces anxieties about uncertain situations in the future. If the future is unpredictable, it’s counter-productive to spend time overly worrying about it.