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Managing your mental health

We are all familiar with experiencing varying degrees of physical health and physical illness. Similarly, we all experience patterns of mental health and mental illness. Mental health or ill-health can vary greatly. All forms of mental ill-health are more pronounced versions of feelings and behaviours that everyone experiences in mild forms. Mental ill-health affects thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a way that can significantly affect relationships, capacity to work and quality of life. 
Mental ill-health is often defined by its intensity, its development and its endurance. It is possible to recover from mental ill-health and most people who continue to experience symptoms of mental ill-health can lead productive and fulfilling lives. Recognising the signs of mental distress and seeking appropriate support and intervention is important. 

 To help improve your mental well-being, especially if you have a mental health diagnosis, it is important to include the following into your day-to-day life: 

  • Physical activity – keep active on a regular basis to naturally boost your wellbeing. Research shows how exercise provides an outlet for our emotions and also releases endorphins- chemicals that are responsible in improving our mood. Have a look at Warwick sport and Specific stress busting activities . 
  • Relaxation – make time to relax. Try yoga, meditation or breathing exercises to keep calm, centred and grounded. Apps like Headspace are highly recommended to help you to practice Mindfulness as part of your weekly routine.  
  • Expressing feelings – allow yourself to cry, rage, draw or write out feelings to help recover from hurtful experiences and release tension. Activities like journaling can be a productive outlet, rather than allowing difficult thoughts to manifest in your head.  
  • Setting goals – set yourself targets that are achievable and reward yourself. 
  • Talking – seek out an ally who you can talk with openly and regularly. 
  • Routine- structure your week/ month so that you have some routine. This is where visual prompts can come in handy. Plan in your wellness activities. 
  • Sleep hygiene- practicing good Sleep hygiene is an essential part of maintaining your mental health. Sleep is the time when our brain processes information and allows our cells to repair and heal.  
  • Seek support – if things seem to be going wrong, be active in sort something out rather than ignoring the issue. 
  • Reflect- take some time to reflect so that you can identify when stressors are starting to build up. 

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Accessing Support and Treatment

It’s normal to experience periods of low mood, stress or anxiety in response to difficult or adverse situations, for example, nerves during exam time or grief after a breakup or death of a loved one. If you notice that you are experiencing adverse symptoms for a prolonged period of time or it is beginning to have an impact on your daily functioning, it’s important that you seek professional support.  

  • In general, early intervention can prevent distress from getting worse. Gaining an appointment with your GP is always a good first step. They can support you with most mental health and medical needs. If you live locally to the campus, you can register online at The University of Warwick Health Centre . 
  • There are local NHS mental health services available if you are experiencing more enduring, profound or acute mental ill-health. You can be referred to these teams by your GP. 
  • Medication can sometimes be used effectively to help manage some of the distressing symptoms associated with mental ill-health.  
  • Consider attending Wellbeing support for a brief consultation and we can advise on support options available both within our services and with local MH Services. You can access appointments daily.  
  • Talking therapies can help to process and manage mental health issues by providing an opportunity to explore and express feelings. This can lead to significant improvements in mental health. You may be able to access counselling through Wellbeing Support Services. Please attend a brief consultation and discuss this with one of our wellbeing advisors. 
  • You may be entitled to support from the disability team with things like accommodation, exam arrangements and reasonable adjustments, amongst other things. It’s important to look into this if you have a mental health condition, even if you don’t consider yourself to have a ‘disability’. You can access this by  
  • Wellbeing Support Services run master classes which focus on supporting your mental health. You can have a look at what’s running here 

Websites

Mindfulness for Students includes tips and audio to help you to stay calm, focused and manage the pressures of student life.

Time to Change
Mental health problems are common, but nearly 9 out of 10 people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result. This can be even worse than the symptoms themselves.

We support Time to Change, which is England's biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.

Find out how you can get involved in the campaign.

Students Against Depression
A site developed in consultation with students; many of their stories and suggestions are included.

Rethink
A national mental health charity who directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

Get Self Help
Comprehensive resource with a wealth of self-help materials.