Your Vice-Chancellor, Steve West, reflects on Mental Health Awareness Week

Issue date: 16 May 2018


As it's Mental Health Awareness Week, we caught up with the Vice-Chancellor, Steve West, to get his tips for keeping well during this busy exam season.

“As a parent of five children, three of whom who have completed their University studies and two who haven't started yet, I understand the pressure that assessments bring.

You've already succeeded by entering University. How can you build on that and flourish to fulfil your dreams and ambitions?

You have to give yourself the best chance to succeed. Prepare for exams, look after yourself physically and emotionally and access support if you need it – and look out for those around you, too. We're all in this together.”

1. Talk things through

Take care of yourself and keep a look out for those around you. Talking things through is a great start – knowing you're not alone and that others care.

2. Access support

Face-to-face and online support is easily accessible – our Wellbeing Service run daily drop-ins and we have online counselling through Kooth Student. Support is there – don't hesitate to reach out and access it.

3. Get plenty of sleep and rest

We all know this, but it's easy to slip into bad habits. Get plenty of sleep, take breaks, eat healthily and drink plenty of water. Take regular breaks from your revision – pace yourself.

4. Know your limits

You need to be at the top of your game during assessments and alcohol will not help you. DrinkAware has helpful information to help you make informed choices about your drinking.

5. Educate yourself about drugs

Be careful using drugs you think will enhance your performance or manage your mood. Self-medicating is risky – you don't know what's in what you're taking and how it will react in your body.

If you want to talk to someone about your own drug use or that of a friend, SPACED provide free confidential information, advice and support about drug use and misuse.

The national scene

I'm sure you'll have seen in the media the growing concerns across the country about the support and care provided to students of all ages in respect of their mental health and wellbeing. I hope you'll also have seen the work that we're leading here as part of a national campaign to improve support and awareness across the University Sector.

We're committed to working with staff and students, the wider external city community, NHS and third sector agencies to enhance how we support and engage with the mental health and wellbeing needs of our university.

If you have any concerns about your own wellbeing, physical or mental, please access support. Everyone here at UWE Bristol wants you to thrive.

Stay safe, do your best and make yourself proud.

Good luck!

Steve

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