May 19, 2023
Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
With mental health awareness week 2023 and this year's theme of anxiety coming to an end, here is a small recap of some things we've done this week from informing parent's on how to help their child dealing with anxiety to a workshop held by a samartians representative. Read on to find out more.
The theme for mental health awareness week 2023 is anxiety. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2021, 39% of first-year students showed signs of anxiety. For humans, stress is natural and its purpose is to help us get through tough times. However, too much stress can have the opposite effect and lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
But what is anxiety?
Anxiety is described as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear” and these can range from mild to severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point. People often experience anxiety around exams, a job interview or needing to have a medical test done, and that is completely natural. But, there are some people who find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety become constant and can begin to affect their daily life.
Through the week, we’ve looked into anxiety and how parents/guardians are able to help their child, niece or nephew if anxiety is something they’re struggling with. We’ve posted a post on our Instagram so students are able to understand more about anxiety but so they also understand ways that they’re able to cope with their anxiety.
We were also incredibly lucky to have a representative from Samaritans come to the campus and do a workshop for students and staff on Emotional Awareness and Listening Skills. Samaritans is a registered charity aiming to support those struggling emotionally or to cope, and those at an increased risk of suicide in the UK and Ireland. The 2-hour session focused on recognising our feeling and how to become better listeners to those around us.
One of the things discussed was the 6 basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise. Basic emotions and complex emotions can be combined to create different feelings, for example by combining happiness (basic emotion) and trust (complex emotion), you can end up with love which is a feeling. An important takeaway from the discussion was that we, as a society, tend to dismiss other people’s emotions to cheer someone up but this can actually have an opposite affect.
Phrases like “why are you complaining?” do more harm than good, lead to someone feeling guilty and stopping them from seeking help.
There are ways we can all improve our listening skills such as:
- Open Questions: ask questions that don’t have a yes or no response
- Summarise: let the person you’re speaking to know you’re listening and understanding what they’re saying
- Clarify: ask the person to elaborate on any points
- Reflect: repeating words or key phrases gives the person you’re speaking to a chance to expand
- Words of Encouragement: encourage the person you’re speaking to to continue their point or story, show them you’re interested
- React: participate and show empathy when a person is being open to you, don’t make assumptions and expect the unexpected.
There are a number of ways that people are able to cope with their anxiety, but the most important thing to remember, is that you are not alone. Staff on campus at LGSC are available to talk to and confide in, or help you with those first steps. The university also has a variety of services:
- Student Wellbeing Service – trained individuals to help students suffering with mental health issues
- Report + Support – a site where you can report incidents affecting you on campus
- Chaplains Team – whether you’re in need of prayer, advice or a non-judgemental conversation.
- Students Union – run an advice session from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm to discuss issues.