By Beds SU
Monday, 9 May 2022
Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, and the official theme is ‘loneliness’. Across the week, the Mental Health Foundation is encouraging everyone to, "build meaningful connections with your friends, family, colleagues and communities".
Loneliness and our mental health
Loneliness affects most people at some point in their lives. Over the COVID-19 lockdowns, for instance, many people struggled with loneliness and isolation as they were separated from friends and family. Moving to university can also be a lonely time, as you leave behind your school friends and communities to make new ones.
Loneliness, though, can be both a cause and an effect of poor mental health.
In an increasingly technical world, many without great tech skills are left behind, and left isolated from their communities. That's why the theme of loneliness is so important to focus on this Mental Health Awareness Week.
What can you do to combat loneliness?
Mind, the mental health charity, has pulled together some great tips to combat loneliness, so we've listed some of them here and added a few of our own!
- Take it Slow
Don't feel like you have to jump in and do everything, all at once. If you're experiencing loneliness, sometimes the last thing you want to do is try to make a million friends at once. If you're nervous about taking part in something new, why not just show up to watch first? It's a great way of getting used to the idea of the activity!
- Try Joining a Society
As a student, you have a unique opportunity to join a society of likeminded people, who do the things you love! Check out all of our societies here! And if there's not one that suits you, you can always start your own!
- Engage in your Local Community
Most communities have things going on! Check your local council's website and your local library's website for events and groups. In Bedford, for example, there's a local exercise group that meets at Bedford Park! Local businesses can also be a great place to make new friends, such as Board Game Cafés, or other businesses that host events.
- Be Kind to Yourself
- Make sure you set aside some time for self-care. Things like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising, and even spending time with animals can be huge mood boosters. If you're an animal lover, but you can't have an animal in your accommodation, why not try a cat café or volunteering at a local animal shelter?
What Support is Available if You're Struggling?
If you're struggling with your mental health, there are loads of resources available to you.
- The University of Bedfordshire has a Mental Health Support Hub, with all the resources available to you as a student.
- To read more about the 2022 Mental Health Awareness campaign, check out the Mental Health Foundation.
- If you're struggling and need immediate help, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123, or chat with one of their volunteers online.
- For more information on Mental Health Resources in the UK, you can check out Mind, one of the UK's leading mental health charities.
- For information on resources for your mental health as a student, Student Minds has student-specific information.
Events across the SU and University this week
The connection to nature is believed to be a great mood booster so as part of our plans to mark Mental Health Awareness Week we are hosting some 'Pot a plant' sessions. We will have two drop-in planting sessions at Luton and Bedford in our venues and then in Aylesbury, London Bridge, Birmingham and Milton Keynes will be handing out 'potting kits' for you to take home to do. You can find out more on our events page and socials. We look forward to seeing you.
The University's Get Active and Wellbeing teams also have a variety of events from Yoga, Mindfulness, baking to drop-in support sessions. You can find out more here. All activities are FREE. To attend the Get Active sessions just need to sign-up to FREE membership which you can do here.