12 Mar 2019
How helping others at University can improve your mental wellbeing
Last Thursday (7 March), Loughborough University celebrated University Mental Health Day.
Throughout the day, staff members from Loughborough Students’ Union and the University’s Mental Health team were out and about across campus speaking to students about the importance of starting a conversation.
They encouraged them to make a pledge to ask for help and support when needed, to check in with friends and family if they are worried about them, and to look out for warning signs.
Loughborough University London organised a series of activities including a sponsored face paint competition for academics within each Institute, a ‘doggy de-stress’, a visit from a pet therapy dog as well as a bake sale and raffle. All the money raised from the day was donated to the charities Samaritans and Mind.
Turning to others for help in difficult times can be daunting, but it is a vital part of beginning the journey to feeling better.
What might not occur to people, however, is that along that difficult journey, shifting your attention towards supporting others could actually benefit you.
With that in mind, below are some of the opportunities available at the University.
“Taking that step forward and signing up to an Action project or attending a Welfare and Diversity event, amongst other opportunities, could be the defining moment where you find your Loughborough family,” writes Matt Youngs, Nightline coordinator.
Nightline is a confidential and anonymous service provided for students, by students. Often when a volunteer receives a call, they can empathise with how a caller is feeling.
By reassuring the caller that they are not alone and engaging in friendly conversation, it can make a world of difference to someone who, at that moment in time, feels like the rest of the world doesn’t want to talk to them.
You can find out more about volunteering for Nightline here.
Supporting your peers by sharing knowledge, experience and emotional help is incredibly valuable.
Peers can offer advice, coping strategies and empathy that professionals may not be able to. First step (EDISS) offers opportunities for mentoring, as do Loughborough Students’ Union through their Peer Mentoring scheme.
Do something for a good cause
This includes supporting campaigns that are close to your heart through social media channels, donating clothes or goods you no longer need to local charities, or taking on a bigger challenge like a race to raise funds.
Random acts of kindness
Last week, University Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers alongside First Step and LSU volunteers gave out positive affirmations and daffodils to students as a random act of kindness.
Consider what simple acts of kindness you could do to help someone else – it could be helping a friend revise, texting someone you have not spoken to in a while to see how they are, or even buying a coffee for the person behind you in the queue.
Loughborough-based students can find out more information about the support services available on the Counselling and Disability Service webpages.