Permission to Pause
This January we hosted an all new inspiring and interactive campaign called Permission to Pause led by Sara Elkhawad (Welfare and Equality Officer). During busy periods, it is vital that people to take self-care and self-love time away from revision books or marking papers, and give our brains and bodies time to breathe. The campaign ran throughout exam time, as well as the week post-exams. We supplied resources and activities to give students and staff that all-important time to pause. All the activities and resources were on campus- around the library and SU- making it easier to take a break and pause.
Why "Permission to Pause"?
Mental Health was marked students’ number 1 priority in the NUSU survey 2018/19. University can pose busy and stressful times on students and staff, and at NUSU, we wanted to help reduce your stress in particularly demanding periods.
During the 2 week exam period we provided free fruit, re-usable cups, colouring and puzzle books and a petting zoo at the Robinson Library. Sabbatical officers got involved in the “Press Play to Pause” podcasts located on the NUSU app. Students told us that ‘the fruit was exactly what they needed’ and that they ‘loved it when we give out the freebies during exams’. When we asked students if the resources and sessions had encouraged them to take a break 100% said YES!
Getting ready for semester 2 was an important part of the campaign. The last week of January gave students and staff the opportunity to pause and recharge.
There was a full and varied programme, something for everyone to take time out.
Monday 27th January Self-Love
- Self-Love means different things to different people and we hoped to help you get ‘in tune’ with what works for you. The drop in sessions on offer were a sleep and stress workshop as well as a mindfulness session.
Tuesday 28th Physical activities
- Regular exercise can have a positive effect on mental health and we facilitated a range of activities for everyone. We offered an organised run, a workout, walks as well as an inclusive boccia session.
Wednesday 29th WellFair
- The WellFair offered a day full of alternatives to help students and staff find the right way for them to pause. Events during the day (all free!) included Snug Yoga sessions, Music for the Mind, an art therapy drop-in, meditation, mindfulness, and boxing. There were also keynote speeches from Nightline and Hope Virgo with a recovery workshop.
- “We thoroughly enjoyed being back at NUSU yesterday with the Snug, the students that participated in our classes were fantastic and on the whole the overall experience of the event was brilliant.”
Thursday 30th Creative
- Being creative can actually improve mental wellbeing. Creativity can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress… And it can also help process trauma. Sara Elkhawad (W&E) and Eleasha Haslam (Marginalised Genders Officer) hosted sessions for BAME students and marginalised genders. These exclusive workshops are important in addressing the inequality in mental health support and positive outcomes for marginalised groups.
What else is NUSU doing to support mental health needs?
Here at NUSU, we are committed to supporting you in living your best life and we understand that, as a busy student, your mental health and wellbeing can sometimes be affected. Everyone may need a bit of extra support from time to time and although we don’t offer the same counseling service as the University we do have a number of opportunities to help you to the 5 steps to mental wellbeing
- *5 Ways to wellbeing may not be the best fit for everyone and if you feel like you need extra support from the Student Wellbeing Counselling service, please get in touch.
- We may not be the answer to your individual needs, but we can signpost you to those who can or work with you on new ideas to support student mental health. Contact the Welfare and Equality Officer with any questions, ideas or thoughts.
- NUSU Help and Support
The Step Change Project
The following information is provided by NU Student Health and Wellbeing Service:
Step Change Task and Finish Group
Student mental health continues to be a major concern across the sector and this had led to the publication of a number of significant papers in recent months. One of the most pertinent of these is the ‘UUK Step Change report’, which explores student mental health needs within UK Universities. The report proposes a framework to meet the reported ever-increasing numbers and severity of student mental ill-health cases.
The Student Health and Wellbeing Teams have done a substantial amount in the last three years to improve the quality, quantity, and variety of preventative and responsive mental health initiatives for Newcastle University Students; however, we recognise more must be done. As such, the Executive Board has supported our proposal to establish a Student Mental Health 'Step Change' Task and Finish Group.
Silvercloud is a suite of online CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) programmes which can be tailored to a student’s specific needs. CBT can help identify and change thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior, helping to change how we are feeling for the better. The programmes are easy to use and flexible as can be accessed anywhere on a PC, tablet or mobile. Silvercloud is available to all Newcastle University students, free of charge
Finally, when we asked students what they would like us to offer in the future the overwhelming response was dogs, dogs, and more dogs. The Officer team also wants this to happen and we are exploring ways to introduce dogs for you to come and visit. Watch this space……………..