22 May 2023
The UK-wide Mental Health Awareness week offers us all an opportunity to reflect on our mental health, tackle stigmas and protect our wellbeing.
This year’s theme was Anxiety, to increase awareness and understanding of one of the most common mental health problems and how we can manage these feelings.
To mark this important week, which ran from May 15-21, our Student Services team organised a variety of events on campus, from activities like coffee and clay sessions, to cuddles with our companion animals, as well as tips for managing exam stress and mindfulness sessions.
Head of Wellbeing Services, Hayley Borrett said: “The majority of us will have experience of poor mental health, whether that is personally or via supporting family, friends, colleagues or peers.
“The Wellbeing Team worked collaboratively with the wide student services team, the SU and staff members across the university to create a broad range of activities for students to get involved with and to raise awareness.”
One in six of us are affected by mental health problems every week, whether that is personally or from supporting a friend, colleague. family member or peer with.
With this in mind, from May 15 the Wellbeing Team are providing a dedicated page of resources and operating afternoon drop-in sessions across the exam and assessment period in Faccenda to support students if they are feeling overwhelmed or need advice.
Hayley added: “Events such as these are imperative in awareness raising, both of the support available here at Harper Adams and externally, but also in breaking down the barriers our students face in accessing support by removing the stigma that often comes with mental illness.
“Our team is not just about counselling – although we do have a great counsellor – we take a person-centred approach to support and give informal advice and guidance and will explore what support package will be appropriate for each student.”
Speaking to students, MEng Agricultural Engineering student Rhodri Williams said: “Speaking from experience, it is so easy to bottle it up, say ‘tomorrow will be a better day', yet without the support of the Wellbeing team at Harper Adams, I would not have gotten through the tough times as easily.
“If you are struggling, it only takes one email, one text, one conversation with a mate, family or a service, and I would urge anybody who is thinking about their mental health to reach out and get help, it’s worth it.
“If you are worried for your mental health, even if you’re having too many bad days, reach out, seek help, that’s the hardest bit, the support you will receive will ensure your mental health is stable, and the good days will soon outnumber the bad ones. It only takes a conversation, I managed it.”
On Thursday, students and staff supported the Mental Health Foundation’s Wear it Green Day by wearing something green, whether it be head-to-toe or a green ribbon pin badge.
The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness, so the Harper community got together and showed solidarity with a green item of clothing, encouraging others to open up a conversation about mental health.
Harper Adams University works with Health Assured to provide an enhanced Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
The programme allows employees to directly access counselling, legal information and advice on debt, work, lifestyle addictions and relationships.
Contact details are shared with employees every week through an internal newsletter. Employees also receive wellbeing support from line managers and our Chaplaincy, HR and Mental Health First Aid teams; in addition to occupational health services provided by Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.
We all have mental health and we encourage our students to reach out if they are experiencing any difficulties.
It’s important to look after our mental health just as we do our physical wellbeing. You may be a student at the start or end of your student journey, or somewhere in between, or a member of the wider university community. You may feel you can talk to friends, your course team, colleagues and or your GP but the important thing to remember is no problem is too small and it can help to talk things through.
It is never too late to let someone know how you are feeling and asking for help. At University, specialist support can be offered via self-referral to the wellbeing team, by accessing the Student Assistance Programme or talking to one of the Mental Health First Aiders.
Sometimes, online can be a good place to start to find out what other support is out there, and there is plenty:
Samaritans 116 123 listening service 24/7