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Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus

10 Nov 2020

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Back in March when we first went into lockdown, we put together this useful page for those of you who may have concerns about your mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time. While some things may have changed, most of the advice and support on offer is still relevant and available.

It is an uncertain and challenging time, and this may be making you apprehensive and anxious or you may have fears about being in isolation. Please be assured that you are not alone, and we have a wide range of help, support and services that you can access.

UCLan counselling, mental health and wellbeing service

At this time, the counselling, mental health and wellbeing team at UCLan is continuing to provide support for students via email, Microsoft Teams and telephone.

If you have any questions, please contact the team by emailing wellbeing@uclan.ac.uk or you can leave a voicemail on 01772 893020 and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Both email and voicemail are monitored from 9am - 9pm Monday to Friday and from 1pm - 9pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. 

If you would like to access counselling, mental health or wellbeing support, please use the online referral form. If you have a query about coronavirus, please email coronaenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

If you have an emergency that requires immediate assistance from UCLan, please contact UCLan Security on 01772 892068, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they will contact the out of hours advisors or on call manager.

Improve your mental fitness with Fika

If you’re looking for extra help to stay motivated, productive, focused and connected during this period of digital work and study, we’ve teamed up with the mental fitness app, Fika, to support all our students during this challenging time.

Free to download for all UCLan students, Fika is the student skills app that can help you to build mental fitness and improve your emotional wellbeing. Content on the app includes videos, audio guides, tips and motivational messages. It also works like a social network in that you can share your own content, see what others are sharing, and support and encourage others.

To sign up to Fika:

  1. Search for Fika: student skills wherever you get your apps
  2. Chose UCLan from the institution list
  3. Enter your UCLan email address and a password of your choice (not your UCLan password)
  4. Check your email for a verification link, and click the link
  5. You can now use the app for free.

Looking after your mental health and building resilience

In these uncertain and worrying times, it's really important that we look after our mental as well as physical health, to help us deal with this new way of life and the impact of reducing our social contact.

To help students, some of our lecturers are offering advice and tips. 

  • Back in March, Senior Lecturer in Advanced Clinical Practice, Allan Gardner, filmed a short video (below) on how to look after your mental health and build resilience during the Coronavirus pandemic, 
  • Dr Sarita Robinson, Principle Lecturer in Psychology, explains why you might be feeling tired while on lockdown and what you can do to get your energy back, and
  • Student Services has produced a podcast that discusses various ways you can stay mentally well during the covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by mental health and wellbeing coordinator, Ffion Jones and senior lecturer, Allan Gardener, the podcast covers wellbeing self-care tips, red flags of when you may be struggling, where to get support, and strategies of how to strengthen your mental resilience.

Advice and guidance

Advice and guidance has been released from various mental health charities and other bodies to help people who may struggle with their mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are sources we think you may find useful:

Managing your mental health

Mind have released an article and recommendations about coronavirus and your wellbeing
The Mental Health Foundation have also released a piece about looking after your mental health during the outbreak
• The BBC and World Health Organisation (WHO) have also been releasing information and tips about protecting your mental health
The NHS has produced guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home 
Student Minds 
The Crisis Kit 
WYSA: Emotionally Intelligent Chatterbox 
eQuoo: Emotional Fitness Game 

Keeping busy

Check out the the Students’ Union dedicated events website with lots of virtual events and activities for students to get involved with. From various themed film showings to virtual cook-a-longs, you will surely find an activity of interest to get involved in. 
Chatter Pack – a list of free, online, boredom-busting resources ranging from virtual tours of museums and farms, online courses and lists of celebrities, bands and artists live streaming on social media.
Download the new UCLan My Wellness app for a virtual health and wellbeing service that you can do anytime, anywhere. The free app is great for keeping fit while the gym and sports facilities are closed, and you can continue to use it to book gym sessions once they reopen. Create an account and download the app for hundreds of on demand and live virtual fitness classes; 1-2-1 training advice with one of our instructors; team and individual activity challenges; our ‘Festive Fit in 4 Weeks’ group programme; our 14 day at home programme and the activity tracker, which will link to your wearable and smart phone health data, Strava and more.
#WakeUpWithJoe – keeping moving and staying healthy will be more important, now so more than ever, in helping you stay busy and help maintain your mental health. Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, is holding early morning classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for you to join in with. As are many other gyms and fitness influencers – keep an eye on social media.
• If you need a little positivity, we've selected a few feel-good hits for all of you working, studying and self-isolating at home. Give it a listen on Spotify - there's something for everyone!
• There are many other ways you can stay busy including, starting or joining a virtual book club, baking and cooking, tidying and organising or practising yoga and mindfulness.

Socialising (without going out)

House Party – think FaceTime plus games! A video messaging app, that allows you to add friends and “throw parties” with them via video chat. You can also play games like Trivia and Heads Up
PSYCH! – perfect for a virtual game’s night with your friends. Download the app and give them the code to join your game, then pick from a variety of fun categories in which each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions. You get extra points for each player you ‘psych’ with your answer 
Netflix Party – a Chrome browser extension which allows you to watch Netflix in synch with your friends and have group chats 
GamePigeon – an iMessage extension, allowing you to play games with your friends and family 

Domestic abuse report and support

We know that for some of our students, the order to stay at home during lockdown can cause anxiety if you are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. If you find yourself in this situation, or know someone at risk of domestic violence, please contact the student counselling, mental health and wellbeing team, who can support and advise you at this time. Remember, in an emergency, call 999, and if needed, make use of the Silent Solutions option to let operators know you need help. For more information, visit our  wellbeing page or call the team on 01772 893020. Alternatively, you can visit Women’s Aid Safelives or find further advice, guidance and help on UCLan's Report and Support site or at the Student's Union advice service.

External services

Papyrus have had to close their helpline but advice, guidance and resources are available at papyrus-uk.org. Other services that can help include:
• Samaritans - 116 123 (free 24-hour 7 days a week)
• SANEline - Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm)
• National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247 (free 24-hour 7 days a week)
• Safenet - domestic abuse support service - 0300 303 3581 or Lancashirerefuges@safenet.org.uk (free 24-hour 7 days a week)

Above all, please remember to stay safe and look after both your physical and mental health. Even if you must be physical distant, remain socially connected.