Warwick Alumna shares her experiences as a Mental Health First AiderWednesday 26 May 2021
Warwick Economics alumna and former undergraduate blogger, Isabel Higginson shares her experience as a Mental Health First Aider as part of Mental Health Awareness month.
Isabel graduated from Warwick Economics in 2019 with a BSc in Economics and successfully secured a place at Kraft Heinz on their Management Trainee Scheme. Since then she has gone on to work in their sales division, where she had the opportunity to become a Mental Health First Aider. As part of this role, Isabel was involved in a two day training course which focused on spotting warning signs of mental ill health and learning how to support and listen to those struggling.
In the following extract, Isabel tells us how thankful she is for this opportunity and what it has taught her over the past year as a Mental Health First Aider. She also provides some useful resources and advice for students during difficult times:
"I’m so grateful for how much this opportunity taught me about looking after my own mental health and supporting others with theirs (especially considering the difficulties the pandemic has brought). Mental health really is as important as physical health. It’s also emphasised to me the importance of having conversations around mental health to continue to break the stigmas attached.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve been reflecting on my own mental well-being and how it’s changed during the past few years. Although I absolutely loved my time at university & my current job, it’s common to have difficult moments. I found exam season during university a very difficult time as I would feel very anxious before exams. This past year at work, I’ve felt very drained at times, which has been made worse with having to work from home. When working from home, my personal and working time can easily merge, making it hard for my brain to switch off; I can imagine it’s very difficult studying for exams during the pandemic.
The past year, routines helped me a lot in a world where I couldn’t have routines as we were going in and out of lockdown. For example, going to the gym before work but also more fun traditions such as fun food Friday where I get a takeaway for lunch & payday doughnuts where I have doughnuts for breakfast on the last Friday of every month. These little routines motivate me throughout the day and ensure I’m getting out of the house during the daytime.
I’ve also dealt better with the ups & downs of life knowing that it’s ok not to feel ok. There’ll be days where I won’t be 100% productive and that’s okay. I hope everyone is doing well during this time and if not, please reach out to friends, tutors or mental health resources."
Here is a link that includes some useful resources for university students.