Being In Your Mate’s Corner – Momin’s Perspective

As we launch our ‘In Your Corner’ mental health awareness campaign, current KCLSU President Momin Saqib shares his perspective on mental health, how the people around him help him to safeguard his wellbeing and how we can be there to support a friend in difficulty. 

Mental health issues, a phrase that might sound scary to some, unknown to others and neglected by some, but is a topic that remains in the dark for the masses. In many societies, even till date, this topic is considered a “taboo” topic, very, unfortunately. The significance of mental health in one’s well-being is a topic which is yet to receive due importance in today’s day and age.

Being involved with the KCLSU over the past two years has given me insight into this particular topic and on a deeper level has stirred my interest in being further involved to share this knowledge and help my peers learn about mental health so that we can help each other and those around us in need.

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From my three years at university, as a student and as a student officer I have learnt that mental well-being is a pre-requisite for succeeding at university, however, success is subjective. But how can one excel in academics or extra-curricular or even their daily chores if one isn’t feeling “mentally well”. We all have remedies for physical ailments- fever? Sore throat? Let’s just pop in a paracetamol and there isn’t anything wrong in doing so. Medicines are after all a source of recovery. But what about our mental well-being? We all have days when we do not feel like getting out of bed, attending lectures, doing our daily chores, meeting people or even eating and that’s completely fine to “not feel up-to the mark” on some days, but when those some days start becoming most days, is when we seem to be developing a “problem”, which in most instances goes unrecognised by majority of students. It isn’t  a question of mood anymore, but it becomes a condition, which worsens each day if it goes untreated just like any other medical condition and this is a fact which is not known to many students, as a result of which they do not seek out for help, thinking it would get better eventually. Many students suffering from such conditions live in the fear that if they talk about their mental state they will be laughed upon or they would be burdening others with their problems. However, they are not completely wrong in their thinking, as there is lack of awareness about the importance of mental health in our society. However, we can work together to change this.

University is a period when one is finally independent, away from family, home and old friends. This can be a challenging period. Speaking from my personal experience so far, university has been good.  But, there is no denying that there have been days that I have questioned myself and my existence. In simple words, university can be a mind-wrecking puzzle. Getting through university itself is a great achievement and it may sound strange coming from the KCLSU president. Those who have known me, whether through my social media or in person, will perceive me as an overly-energetic, passionate, happy individual who is extremely content with life, but I am like any other individual who worries a little too much and gets anxious about exams. But having said this, I would also say that I have always been an expressive person and have spoken about my fears and worries with those I am close to. I have been lucky enough to have understanding people around me who have guided me and supported me and have been there for me in times of despair.

As a part of KCLSU and King’s, we strive to build a community where students can easily address their mental-health issues and communicate with those around them for help. All students at King’s should adopt a proactive approach to recognising such mental-health issues and support each other in seeking help for the same. King’s “In Your Corner” campaign is specifically designed for this purpose and is aimed at improving the health and well-being of all students at King’s.

As the president of the union, I would just like to let all students know that I will go out of my way to ensure that every student has the best university experience at King’s. KCLSU along with King’s has are committed to the mental health of the entire student community. They will be providing support services for all students. Students are always going to be encouraged to talk about their mental health, like all other problems

All students should know that they are not on this journey alone and we are all in this together

If you’re experiencing difficulties with your mental health, don’t feel you have to keep it to yourself. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member or the University for support.  The links below outline some of the different peer-led initiatives and professional support services:

If you would like to learn some basic skills in supporting a mate experiencing mental health difficulties, sign up to one of a Student Minds ‘Look After Your Mate’ workshops on campus here.

University Mental Health Day 2017 – Why I Run

We hope you are looking forward to University Mental Health Day tomorrow as much as we are! This year, the theme is ‘active mental health’ and our Wellbeing Coach Wilna Gracias ,who is organising this year’s event, was keen to reflect on the benefits that her passion for running has brought to her own physical and mental health.  To take part in UMHD 2017 and #moveit4mentalhealth, check out the timetable of events here.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Wilna running Why I Run – Wilna Gracias (Wellbeing Coach)

If you would have told the 15 year old me that the older me would be a marathoner, I would have laughed in your face.

Back then I was your average overweight teen that spent most of her time in front of a TV and/or on the couch doing homework.   In an effort to feel good about myself, I tried all the fad diets and extreme weight loss techniques out there (remember Taebo and sweat suits).  However, I failed after each attempt and each time was left feeling powerless.  I turned to food to soothe these feelings and hence added to the stress.

Fast forward to 2010. I’m living in New York City working as a social worker, and overall, feeling pretty accomplished.  They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere and to the outside world, I had made it. With two degrees under my belt and a growing career, I had it all.  Except for that feeling of failure and powerlessness that was associated with being overweight.  It crept up when I looked in the mirror, when I went shopping for clothes, and even when I made choices about what to eat.  I could no longer deny it or cover it up-I was unhappy and uncomfortable in my own skin.  It was time to do something.  I chose to RUN.

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I ran my first half-marathon in April of 2010 and haven’t stopped running since.  I’ve run over 9 half-marathons in 2 different countries (US and UK). I have also run 4 marathons with Team for Kids, including this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon just last week.  Team for Kids is a group of adult runners from around the world who add meaning to their miles by raising funds for New York Road Runner’s Youth and Community Services programmes. The funds raise provide low cost-health and fitness programs to kids who would otherwise have little or no access to regular physical activity.  These programmes serve over 200,000 children in more 1,000 schools each year.

Not only have I shed the unwanted pounds and poor body image, I have re-gained control of my body, health, and life.  So when I’m asked why I run, the truth is that it reminds me that I’m EMPOWERED.  Running reminds me that I have the power to change my life.  Running reminds me that power is believing in yourself and working towards your goals.  Most importantly, running reminds me that power is not something you keep to yourself, but share with others.  Thus far, I have raised over $6,000 for Team for Kids and hope to continue to do so in the years to come.  I want to share to the gift of running with as many people as possible.  It has changed my life and I know it can change others’ lives as well.

 

Stomping the stigma and taking positive steps

What a great time we had interacting with students today for Time to Talk 2017!  Across the University, students and staff came together to ‘stomp the stigma’ by placing a footprint in paint over negative, damaging or thoughtless words around mental health problems and replacing them with words of compassion, understanding and empowerment in our shoe collage.  Throughout the day, we had open, honest and frank discussions about the impact of these words, how to support ourselves and each other in times of mental ill health and how to practise self-care to safeguard our physical and mental well-being.

We’ve collected some of our favourite photos from the day below, with even more photos and videos on our @kingswellbeing twitter feed and our King’s Wellbeing Facebook page.

WP_20170202_12_34_13_Pro      Stomping that stigma!stamping right waysad  stomp filtercrafts right way    WP_20170202_13_04_12_Pro

Replacing stigmatising language with messages of support and empathy

 

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WP_20170202_13_03_56_Pro  displayThe finished product!

Time to Talk Day 2017 – Stomp The Stigma!

Tomorrow Thursday the 2nd of February is national Time to Talk Day and we’re inviting you to get involved!

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Even though one in four of us will experience a mental health problem every year, so many will experience feelings of isolation, misunderstanding and stigma.  Sometimes, it can be difficult to talk about mental health, especially our own, or to know how to reach out to a friend in need.  That’s why mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have come together to run the Time To Change campaign, a movement of ordinary people from all walks of life committed to opening up about mental health; talking, listening and changing attitudes.

At times, the language we hear around mental health in society is negative, judgemental and inconsiderate, when we should be cultivating an atmosphere of respect, support and empathy. King’s formally committed to supporting open discussion and awareness on campus around mental health in 2014 by signing the Time to Change pledge and what better opportunity to do this than Time to Talk 2017!WP_20160204_12_09_16_Pro

Time To Talk 2016: King’s Wellbeing was joined by the KCL peer supporters and Shannon, University Coordinator for Samaritans

You may remember us popping up in your canteens at Time to Talk last year to host a tea and chat session complete with free hot drinks and biscuits.

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This year, we won’t spoil the surprise, but the Wellbeing Team has some fun and creative activities planned to help us to ‘stomp the stigma’! Our absolute favourite thing at King’s Wellbeing is interacting with KCL students, who are insightful, passionate and drivers of positive change.  So come and join us to stomp on that stigma and help replace negativity and intolerance around mental health problems with support and empathy.

 

You’ll find us stomping the stigma at:

Macadam Lobby, KCLSU, Strand campus 11-2

Revelstoke Room, Henriette Raphael, Guy’s 11-2

1st floor reception area, Waterloo 11-2

 If you would like to talk about something that’s on your mind, or are looking for support with your mental health, don’t forget the following services on campus and off:

Counselling Service

Mental Health Advisors

Peer Supporters

Chaplaincy

Nightline

Samaritans helpline is also open 24 hours a day for emotional support and you can visit their building in Marshall Street every day between 9.00am and 9.00pm, no appointment necessary

New Year New Start with King’s Wellbeing

New Year New Start: Build your vision for 2017

 Welcome back to King’s and Happy New Year!  As we step into 2017, our thoughts might be turning to academic and personal goals for the coming months.  Sometimes, we can be tempted to set ourselves lofty targets that leave us more stressed than motivated and feeling disappointed when we don’t meet our own expectations.  How many of us have banished all treats, signed up to the gym and pledged to spend an inordinate number of hours in the library, only to find ourselves binge-watching our favourite Netflix series, unhealthy snacks in hand a couple of weeks later?  We’ve all been there! And that’s OK.

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King’s Wellbeing takes a different approach.  Firstly, we want you to celebrate your achievements in 2016.  What went well? What are you proud of? Take a moment to reflect.  And what did you learn?  Even if everything didn’t go quite to plan, there is always something that we can take forward into the future to help us grow and we can feel proud of ourselves for making it through a difficult period.

Next week marks the start of our New Year New Start campaign and there’s a reason why we don’t subscribe to the ‘New Year New You’ motto that emerges every January.  We don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with the old you! We believe in the resourcefulness of all our students to build on the foundation that is already there and become the best version of themselves.

So, let’s not focus exclusively on what we want to change and dwell too much on the negatives.  Let’s look at where we want to be, what we want to achieve, and see 2017 as a year of new possibilities.  Try and focus on manageable and tangible goals as part of an incremental process of positive growth.  Don’t forget to recognise your successes along the way, however small, and remember to take care of your wellbeing!  If you’re struggling to identify your goals and how to get there and would benefit from some support, why not make an appointment for some wellbeing coaching?

 Don’t forget also that in addition to King’s Wellbeing, there are a multitude of services on campus to help you attain your academic, personal and health and fitness goals. Check out Study Skills, English Language Centre, King’s Sport and Be Active as a starting point.  If you’re trying to connect more with the KCL community, have a look at the KCLSU societies – from film and literature, to hot chocolate, to circus skills, there’s truly something for everyone! Looking for a friendly face and a listening ear to talk things over in confidence?  You can always get in touch with the KCL peer supporters or the Chaplaincy.  

For New Year New Start, King’s Wellbeing will also be around on every campus over the next two weeks to help you to get off on the right foot and provide a space to reflect on how to boost your wellbeing.  Join us for interactive stalls, relaxation workshops, yoga and more! New Year New Start needn’t be daunting and can even be fun!

 

Crafternooning for Mind and Winter Wellbeing Support

A great time was had by all recently at our two winter wellbeing crafternoon events. Of particular note was the creativity unleashed on our gingerbread figures, resulting in oompa loompas, a gingerbread Santa and some particularly snazzy outfits involving brightly-coloured sprinkles! However, underlying the festive snacks, biscuit decorating and general merriment was a serious message. The purpose of the event was to fund-raise and raise awareness of the mental health charity Mind.

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Some of our wonderful creations at our Mind crafternoon event!

Since 1946, Mind, originally the National Association for Mental Health, has been working to provide empowering advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem and to nurture a culture of support and respect. We loved the idea of a crafternoon for all that it represented; a chance to take a break from study, come together to strengthen existing connections and make new ones and open up dialogues around mental health, not to mention having fun!

Mind, and indeed KCL, recognise that for a variety of reasons, the holiday season can be a time of year that provokes strong emotions and may prove a source of additional stress and strain.  For this reason, it’s important that we take care of ourselves, are kind to ourselves and each other and know where to turn for support with our wellbeing.  Whatever we’re going through, there is help at hand if we know where to look.

With this in mind, we’ve collated some helpful resources on self-care over the winter and sources of wellbeing and mental health-related support.

  • Winter Wellbeing Guide: Includes fun hints and tips on how to keep each one of the King’s Ways to Wellbeing in check over winter and some organisations to contact if we need help and support over the holiday period.
  • Christmas in London: a summary of what is going on in London, alternative options for Christmas Day and King’s student services over the winter break.
  • KCL Global Lounge: A space at the Waterloo Campus open during the holiday period for KCL students staying in London to come together.  The space will be staffed by student ambassadors and there will be games, light refreshments and films.
  • Global Lounge Facebook Group 
  • Stand Alone Festive Guide, for people experiencing familial estrangement.
  • Kyle’s Blog for Mind on coping with depression and anxiety at Christmas.
  • Mind Infoline: Want to talk about mental health? Mind’s Infoline is there for you.
  • Samaritans provides emotional support 24/7 every day of the year over the phone and is open for face-to-face visits at its central London office throughout the festive season.
  • Sources of assistance or immediate support in the local community 

However you’re spending the holidays, King’s Wellbeing wishes you the very best and will be here for you again with more wellbeing-related events and activities in the New Year.

Volunteering for Samaritans – Shannon’s Experience Part 2

King’s alumna Shannon’s experience as a University Outreach Volunteer for Samaritans was challenging, rewarding and gave her pause for thought. In this installment of our blog series on mental wellbeing, Shannon outlines the duties she undertook as part of her role and describes the impact it had on her own perspective of mental health. Samaritans right way up

My Role

 As I was unable to dedicate the hours that would be required to become a listening volunteer, I opted to take on a role in the outreach division – which resulted in one of the most positive and fulfilling experiences of my life. In this role, it was my responsibility to contact universities (the counselling services, libraries, university halls, student societies, and more) to organise meetings with those who we might be able to assist in promoting the Samaritans to students.

Upon meeting with university staff in their respective divisions, I was surprised to find them enthusiastic about advertising our services, having been worried that it might be perceived as potential competition. However, the vast majority of counselling services were happy to have us on board, seeing us a means of additional support for their students- particularly those on the services waiting list.

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Thus, it was apparent to me that Samaritans was generally welcomed by university mental health services. The wellbeing of the students was paramount, and Samaritans already had a good name- it sold itself. Hence it took little effort on my part to arrange meetings with university facilities where I could talk about the full range of services that Samaritans had to offer, and what would be of most benefit to students. In conjunction with this, I focused on getting Samaritans advertised via various electronic means: in emails that got sent to students, on their webpages, on the counselling services application site, and all over the university on plasma screens where possible (i.e. campuses and libraries). This was so that students were aware that Samaritans knew how stressful university could be- and that they wanted to help.

The role also altered my own perspective on mental illness. Whilst I had my own experiences with it, and did not view it as something that should be stigmatised, it became clear through working at Samaritans just how limited my understanding was. The people who worked there were so much more open than me- and needed to be if they were going to be on the telephone, facing individuals with problems that I myself might find difficult to empathise with. However, as advertised, the service is completely judgment free – this means that no matter what the problem, or what the caller is experiencing, the volunteers wanted to hear it. samaritans number

Working in this role taught me that mental illness can take many forms: it wasn’t limited to existential depression, but rather could be triggered by any number of factors: from routine boredom to the loss of a loved one. All callers are offered the same befriending service- Samaritans understood that small triggers can lead to some pretty big feelings, something that I was taught during my time there.

I also learnt a lot about the vast amount of services that were offered at universities in an attempt to assist students who may be suffering from mental illness. This is particularly pertinent with the newly formed wellbeing service at King’s, and also the  peer listening volunteers trained by the Counselling Service. The support networks for struggling students were expanding, and it was evident to me that mental health was finally being treated with the importance that it deserved. Samaritans wanted to be part of this development in university culture, and encouraged the openness with which mental health was finally being addressed. WP_20160204_12_09_16_Pro

Shannon with some of the KCL peer supporters and Freddie and Julia from King’s Sport and King’s Wellbeing at last year’s ‘Time to Talk’ event.

One example of my active involvement during my time with Samaritans, whilst being a student myself at Kings, was taking part  in the ‘Time to Talk’ event run by the recently set up King’s Wellbeing team. The role consisted of manning a stall and going out from this base to approach students to encourage conversations around mental health. This simple job proved incredibly challenging at first- approaching cliques of students who seemed to be having DMCs was no easy task! However, once we got talking with some of them, it became apparent that the majority had encounters with mental illness- be it a personal experience, or a vicarious one through a friend or a loved one. The event was all about removing the stigma around mental health  and working towards an environment that was open to talking about emotional problems – without regarding them a sign of individual weakness, as has long been the case. It was all about encouraging individuals to broach the day-to-day stresses that, if left unacknowledged, could have serious implications: an initiative that Samaritans had been encouraging since it first began in 1953.

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The quickest way to contact the Samaritans and get a response is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call 24 hours a day. You can also contact them via email, text, the web and by letter. http://www.samaritans.org/   

Samaritans phone lines will be open 24/7 throughout Christmas and new year  and their centre in central London is  open for face-to-face visitors between 9am and 9pm every day throughout this period.

 

Volunteering for Samaritans – Shannon’s Experience

samaritans profile picIn the first of two posts about the invaluable services offered by Samaritans to those both in crisis and in need of a listening ear and emotional support, King’s alumna Shannon Whyborne blogs about her experience of volunteering as a University Outreach Volunteer. In today’s post, Shannon describes what she learned about Samaritans as an organisation and the different ways in which they offer help and support.

During my third and final year at King’s, I took on the role as University Outreach Volunteer with the Central London Samaritans. Already concerned with the importance of mental wellbeing, and having heard the Samaritan name on multiple occasions, I knew the role was something that I would care for, and I wasn’t disappointed- working with Samaritans was a truly amazing experience. 

 Samaritans samaritans

I was asked to visit the facility before accepting the role. The place was hidden away in a sort of alcove in the street, and at first I wondered at the reason for this- surely Samaritans would want to be as obvious as possible, so as to remind people of their presence? This was because I, like most people, assumed that Samaritans was a solely telephone-based charity, where people on the edge of committing suicide would phone up to be talked down- worthy work by anyone’s standards. However when I arrived, Mark – the central London Samaritans Outreach manager – showed me around the facilities and I realised that the Samaritans was a lot more diverse than I had first thought.

 First of all, it was diverse in the range of people that contacted them. It wasn’t just the extreme cases but anyone who just needed someone to offload onto (which would be a large part of my role, in encouraging students to get in contact whenever the demands of university were getting them down or stressed). The link to universities was inevitable with the high educational standards imposed on students, in conjunction with the busy university counselling services (where students may find themselves on a waiting list for a while). It was clear that some students would benefit from an additional source of support for something that couldn’t afford to be neglected.

 Secondly, I was surprised to discover that Samaritans was diverse in the way in which it samaritans numberassisted- not only did they provide services over the phone, email or text, but they also encouraged people to drop into the Central London facility for a face-to-face visit (the reason for tucking the building away), which offered the same service, but on an arguably more personal level. Furthermore, the volunteers utilised the same skills with the people that dropped in as they did with those who phoned, so that everyone is provided the same, high quality service- with the added benefit of a cup of tea for those who wanted a face-to-face!

 For those that do opt for visiting the office, they are first welcomed into a spacious waiting room where they are offered a hot beverage and a chance to sit down. As soon as someone from the telephone office is available (i.e. no longer on the phone), the individual seeking help is invited into one of the small one-to-one rooms (of which there are about five). This way, the meeting is completely confidential, and so the visitor is able to share in complete confidence.

 Next to the small meeting rooms is the telephone office, where the volunteers are located behind a glass panel (so that the conversations remain completely confidential) with the staff break out room adjacent. In the break out area, volunteers are able to recompose after calls (or emails and texts) and catch up with their line manager who can talk them through their call. This is especially pertinent where volunteers have just had a particularly stressful call. Samaritans were focused on caring for the emotional needs of their own volunteers as well as those calling. This is something that I found particularly important, as mental wellbeing was relevant to everyone. If the volunteers weren’t looked after then how could they be expected to aide those calling? Therefore it was evident that Samaritans had considered everything: the wellbeing of their volunteers as well as those calling their services.

The quickest way to contact the Samaritans and get a response is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call 24 hours a day. You can also contact them via email, text, the web and by letter. http://www.samaritans.org/  

World Mental Health Day 2016 – Ben’s Story

This World Mental Health Day, KCL Students’ Union President Ben Hunt shares his own experience of mental health problems. According to mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  However, by reaching out to others when we’re experiencing difficult times and by providing a listening ear and support to a friend, family member or colleague in need, we can help each other through. Ben

#wereinthistogether

#itsgoodtotalk

#WMHD2016

It’s 9 am on a Friday. I come into work with a filter coffee and a Tupperware box with leftovers from the dinner I cooked from scratch the night before and go into a College Committee about the yearly intake of students. The senior academic staff say how good it is to have such an astute student who has an eye for detail on these Committees to hold them accountable. I smile and sip my coffee in between interrogating the data of student numbers I read in detail overnight, just before I had an anxiety attack and called the Samaritans at 3 am for forty minutes because I couldn’t sleep. I come back to the office after the meeting and see I’ve received a thank you card from a student, and another student comments later in the day that they don’t know how I juggle so much, and that I seem to be doing so well.

I want to tell you that the perception of someone who seems high functioning is not always a reality. There have been a lot of times as a student when I’ve considered dropping out because of my mental health, or quitting my role as your Student Officer. Sometimes when all you want to do is lay in bed and not speak to anyone, paying bills, doing extra jobs, studying and going to the library can be impossible, as can getting out of bed to brush your teeth or go into the outside world. Daily interactions can be at best a challenge and at worst impossible. Your Union President has mental health problems.

WMHD Website banner

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness around mental health issues around the world and combining efforts to support mental health. Perception and reality can be two different things when it comes to mental health. I’m writing this as an open letter to the student body because I’m hoping that by talking about some of my experiences, you can start to think about your own and help others in theirs.

I suffer from both depression and anxiety, as well as some physical disabilities which can make it a challenge to do day to day tasks. I have attended counselling, and taken medication. When I’ve been too anxious to speak to people, often I can think that my closest friends or family don’t care or don’t want to offer their support to me, and that partners will want to leave me. A few days ago I was messaging my current partner, and when there was a gap of twelve hours in the response my anxiety made me think that they were hurt or had left me. It turned out (as it always does) their phone ran out of charge. I don’t open up enough about my illness now, and didn’t at all in the past, because I thought I was being a burden.

One of the most important things highlighted in many mental health campaigns like Time to Talk, a campaign dedicated to people talking about mental health openly, is how difficult it can be to talk about mental health. Approaching someone about your mental health when already worried about what those closest to you are thinking, (will they think I’m a burden? Do they even care? Will they leave me if I talk about this) is challenging.

I spent years not opening up about my illness until I had to talk. Earlier this year I visited a close friend of mine in Surrey after an extremely intense six months, and he told me that I looked grey in the face and that I needed help, and that people were worried about how I had been working to compensate for my personal problems. He said he would support me in whatever I did. That was the catalyst that I needed: someone closest to me recognising that I had a problem and offering their support to help me through. He saw through the high-functioning person who was sociable and didn’t want to talk about their problems, and he saw how ill and scared I was. So if you think a close friend of yours might need support, even if they are working dozens of hours a week, even if they don’t seem like they need it, or won’t ask you for it, reach out to them.

I was worried, after this conversation and starting counselling, that my health was actually nothing to worry about, that I was being a burden and I just needed to ‘get over myself’. One thing that has helped me through has been living with close friends who I know regardless of what happens will stay by me. Being able to tell them anything, whether it’s on a celebratory occasion where I’ve had anxiety problems and needed to go home early, or at 3am in the morning when I can’t sleep due to worrying about things, having that openness and trust has made me able to go forward with gaining support. Even if they can’t always understand, they always listen.

I’ve encountered so many wonderful students and staff in my four years at King’s, both as a Philosophy student and in my two years as a Student Officer at the Union, many of whom are friends for life. Because of my busy work life, the fact that I can cook and I’m always (reasonably!) presentable and responsive, people have been surprised that I have these issues. Many students will be able to juggle several extra-curricular activities as well as their studies, and work as well, but then go home late at night feeling profoundly lonely and down. Many others find it difficult to overcome daily tasks, to attend lectures, to keep to commitments or get out of bed, and I’ve definitely experienced both sides of this. If you do know someone who you think needs help but you haven’t offered it yet, I would ask you, today, message them or talk to them. Ask them if they need anything, or say that you’re always there for them. If you’re struggling with some things yourself, there is support out there for you. Rely on those close to you, they are there through better and worse, and book an appointment with a support service if you can. In the last year, almost 80% of students reported having mental health problems.[1] This message is a call to action around mental health and for us as a community to be proactive in supporting each other, and by talking about my own health, I hope you can do it yourself, or help someone in finding a way to talk about theirs.

If you would like to get in touch with Ben, your KCLSU President about this or any other matter, please contact him at present@kclsu.org

If you need confidential help or advice, there are both internal and external resources available:

Samaritans

The quickest way to contact the Samaritans and get a response is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call. You can also contact them via email or on the web.

Mind
Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 or Text 86463. Alternatively visit the web.

Resources at King’s
Your personal tutor will be able to offer support in relation to your studies. If you don’t know who that is then please get in touch with your departmental office.

You can contact our counselling service on 020 7848 7017 or email them at counselling@kcl.ac.uk.

The Chaplains are also available to have an informal discussion with you if you wish to, regardless of faith. Their contact details are published on the website.

Please note also that the chapels and prayer rooms across King’s are always available to people for private reflection and prayer.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/mar/02/student-mental-health-a-new-model-for-universities