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University Mental Health Day: Building connection as a university student

 

University Mental Health Day 2023. Building connection as a university student.

 

The theme for this year’s University Mental Health Day is loneliness and connection. Here are some of the Mental Health Ambassadors experiences and tips around connection:

 

Jathusha

Hi, my name is Jathusha, and I am a mental health ambassador. Connecting with others is an important part of my wellbeing because it allows me to focus on the present more. So, what helps me to connect? It definitely has to be expressing gratitude. Giving someone a genuine compliment and expressing gratitude used to be something I didn’t do that often. I used to think that people already knew if their outfit looked good, or that they were a really kind person. But I’ve come to realise that this isn’t true! Everyone likes to feel appreciated and ever since I’ve said my compliments out loud and expressed my gratitude through words, letters, quality time or gifts, I have been able to connect with others more easily.

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Getting involved at the opportunities and events at the university has also allowed me to do this by meeting new people; giving me the chance to start conversations and listening to others from all walks of life.

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An idea I would share to help students connect is to be more present. Being a student, it’s easy to get caught up with the workload and deadlines, making us lose sight of the present moments. But doing something small, like complimenting someone or even something more consistent like volunteering, can make you feel more grounded to the here and now, allowing you to connect with others.

 

Leanne

Hello, my name is Leanne and I am one of the supervisors for the Mental Health Ambassador scheme. I am studying around nature and wellbeing for my PhD and one of the aspects of this is connection to nature which has been shown to have a huge impact on our wellbeing and mental health. One thing I try to do is to connect with nature as much as I can in an active way. I enjoy walking with my dog and exploring new places. I find doing these activities also helps build new connections and meet new people when out walking.

I am really passionate about the five ways to wellbeing and one of the five points to this is connection. This involves making connections with others, ourselves and the world around us. This can be through developing strong connections with people and also expanding our networks, meeting new people and being involved in our communities.

The university makes me feel really connected. Being a distance student I’m rarely on campus so sometimes feel a sense of ‘missing out’ on connections that most others have when on campus. However I feel so supported at university and have met so many lovely people both on my visits down to campus as well as virtually online.

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One piece of advice I would give anyone to help them connect is to jump in and take the opportunities.

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I found myself worried about stepping out of my comfort zone, however by taking a chance and actually stepping out of my comfort zone I have found it can really help build connections. Taking part in initiatives like the peer mentors and mental health ambassador schemes are also great ways to connect and I’ve found this to help me connect, also taking part in any university activities or societies too!

 

Zainab

Hi, I’m Zainab and I’m one of the mental health ambassadors. What helps me connect to my friends is our love for card games. It brings a more joyful and happy environment after a week of work and assignments. Other ways I find best to connect with things around me is to just take a walk around Chichester and genuinely experience nature and things around the town for what they are.

The university has helped me connect with others by providing many events and opportunities for myself and others to get into contact with people with similar interests. Always putting out the message that there’s always people around and there for you, creates a sense of connection and community.

A piece of advice I would give to others, would be to genuinely take a day off from your daily routine and just find and understand what makes you feel happy and gives you enjoyment.

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Without being content and connected within yourself, it would be hard to feel a sense of connection to anything else.

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Sara

Hi, I’m Sara, this year’s Mental Health Ambassador. What helps me to connect? The profound and meaningful relationships I have with some people. They make me feel like I want to keep trying and have a more positive attitude. Also being part of certain groups close to my values helps me. When I think I belong somewhere, even if it’s a handful of people, I know they can lean on someone because these people have a similar attitude to me. I believe the university helps by creating different communities to join so you don’t feel alone.
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If I had to give one piece of advice it would sound like this: try to overcome your fears, step by step, so that you have more control than they had over you.
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Maybe that could make it easier to meet others. And overcome the other obstacles. 

Maybe that could make it easier to meet others. And overcome the other obstacles.

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Date published

09 Mar 2023

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