At The Northern School of Art we are a supportive and close-knit community that take measures to support the well-being of our students and staff. It is just as important to look after our mental health as it is our physical health; with this in mind we actively encourage our students to engage in a range of practices, activities and offer information to support them. Being mentally well enables you to make the most of your potential, cope with life’s challenges and also play a full part in your community, home, study and social life. Read further for information on how to get in-touch, for tips and advice on how to help your own mental health as well as that of others and for information on charities, resources, and practices that can benefit your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Student Services: Supporting You!

Our Student Services Team are trained in mental health awareness and are on hand to support you with any pastoral needs you may have! Student Services provide emotional as well as practical support intervention and advice on any concern regarding mental health issues. This guidance is available throughout a student’s time at the school. Our team is well informed and can sign post students to our counselling service, liaise with external support services and charities on behalf of our students and support onward referrals where required. If you have any concerns about anything or anyone, get in touch with Student Services. Our contact information is below. We are there to help; remember don’t struggle on your own.

Contact Us

Green Lane Email: studentservices@northernart.ac.uk Call: 01642 856138 Hartlepool Email:hestudentservices@northernart.ac.uk Call: 01429 858410

Mental Health Emergency Help and Resources

If you find that your mental health is suffering or you are concerned about someone else and not sure what to do about it don't worry! We have compiled some information for you. Below you will find a list of free resources you can use that offer helpful information, tips and guidance on mental health awareness and the things you can do to help yourself and others.

Emergency Mental Health Contacts
In crisis?
If you need immediate help to stay safe – especially if you think you might act on suicidal thoughts - or you have harmed yourself and need urgent medical attention dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department.

There are a number of organisations who can support you if you are experiencing a mental health crisis:

The Samaritans: Call: 116 123 or Email: jo@samaritans.org
Shout crisis text line: Text: 85258
Papyrus Hopeline: Call: 0800 068 4141, Text: 077 8620 9697 or Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org
NHS Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Crisis number: 0800 0516171
Mental Health Websites
There are lots of websites with really useful information on mental health and wellbeing, here are a few general sites that cover a lot of different topics:

Help Guide: This website contains lots of information and helps you consider what practical steps you can take regarding a wide variety of mental health issues. Exploring topics such as addiction, anxiety, depression, bipolar and suicidal thoughts. They also provide articles on wellbeing topics such as sleep, exercise and healthy eating.

Student Minds: Student Minds is the UK’S student mental health charity. This organisation is specifically aimed at university life and provides help advice regarding mental health and wellbeing. Including tips on how to support a friend.

MIND: MIND is the leading mental health charity in the UK. They provide a broad range of information regarding ill-mental health, well-being advice, contact support information, counsellor information and contact as well as help line services.

Rethink Mental Illness: This website contains information on a range of mental health conditions such as: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and eating disorders.

NHS: The NHS provides useful information for helping yourself with any issues and feelings you may be working through as well as advice on how to offer support to others around the topics of anxiety, low mood, stress and sleep. The NHS website offers a wealth of online interactive services including a mood self-assessment tool which is complete with an audio guide which you can find here.

Recovery College Online: This website has a range of online courses and information to help those with mental health problems to develop skills to help their own recovery.

Young Minds: Young Minds offers Information on a variety of conditions for young people. Including tips on looking after yourself, a guide to support others and information for parents.

The Mix: The Mix offers a range of support and information on lots of different aspects of life for young people aged 25 or under. This includes information on mental health. They also offer a 24/7 crisis text support across the UK. Text THEMIX to 85258. They have a helpline which you can contact on: tel: 08088084994 for counselling support and a 1-2-1 chatline.
Suicide Prevention
At The Northern School of Art we recognise that universities have a responsibility to help prevent student suicide. We aim to do this through a school wide approach to developing an understating of awareness and education around suicide prevention and intervention. We have developed a Suicide Prevention Plan informed by the Universities UK guidance: “Suicide-Safe Universities”. Our plan outlines the School’s commitment to reducing the risk of suicide in our community.

If you are having suicidal thoughts it is important to tell someone. Speak to a friend or family member, use the crisis contact outlined on this page to speak to a professional. If you are at all concerned about someone you know please contact the student services team or read our Supporting a Friend information below.

Papyrus: Papyrus is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide for young people. They have a fantastic website with plenty of information and advice:papyrus-uk.org/
Alongside this they have a confidential phone service offering advice and support for anyone in need or who is concerned about someone else.

Hopeline Tel: 0800 068 4141 or 07860 039967
Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

Support After Suicide Partnership: This organisation provides advice and guidance on emotional and practical support including what to say to a person who has lost someone through suicide.

They provide useful support guides outlined below:
• Help is At Hand: Support after someone may have died by suicide
• Finding the Words: How to support someone who has been bereaved and affected by suicide

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide: Information and advice to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide. They also operate a national helpline: 0300 111 5065.
Supporting a Friend
There may be times when you are concerned about another student who appears to be struggling in some way. Whether that’s a housemate whose behaviour is worrying you, someone on your course who seems upset or a fellow student who appears to be having difficulties. In order to help as early as possible it is important to take the correct steps needed, which you will find help on here!

Urgent situations
• Someone says they intend to kill or harm themselves immediately.
• The person says they intend to harm someone else.
• The person is acting dangerously, such as walking into traffic.
• You have reasonable belief that the person has already caused themselves harm such as by swallowing tablets.

In any of the above circumstances please encourage your friend to contact one of the crisis services. Or contact them yourself if you feel it is appropriate and you are comfortable in doing so. Please ensure that you seek wellbeing support for yourself if you have had to deal with such a situation.

Non-urgent situations
If you are certain that the person is not in immediate risk and you feel comfortable providing support the following tips can help. Always remember it is important to know your boundaries and protect yourself and your wellbeing. Do not become responsible for the person or allow the support to have a negative impact on yourself or studies.

Open up the conversation
Letting someone know that you are concerned about them might help them take the first step to seeking help and support. You do not need to offer solutions, just take time to listen to them without making any judgements and be there for them.

If you’d like to find out more about supporting a friend through tough times ask Student Services about the "Look After Your Mate Training".

Encourage them to access support
It is useful to get your friend to think about all the support that is available to them. You could ask them what kind of support they are interested in and what they think would be helpful. The School has trained staff to be able to offer and signpost to the appropriate support. Although supporting a friend is an extremely beneficial part of helping someone, professionals will be able to provide much more support than you can offer on your own. Encourage them to contact Student Services or to book an appointment with the School Counselling Service.
Depression
Depression is a common mental health problem. Often the term is used inaccurately to describe feelings of sadness. Occasionally everyone feels ‘blue’ or ‘sad’ but these feelings usually pass within a couple of days. When a person has depression, it is persistent and interferes with their daily life and routine.

The signs and symptoms of depression include:

• Lasting sad, anxious, or ‘empty’ feelings
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
• Decreased energy/feelings of fatigue
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
• Restlessness or irritability
• Sleeping too much or difficulty in sleeping
• Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
• Chronic pain or persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
• Suicidal thoughts*

If you have experienced symptoms for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks it is time to seek help. Make an appointment with your GP or contact Student Services.

* if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please seek help straight away by making an appointment with your GP, contacting Student Services or a Mental Health First Aider or seek Crisis Support

A lot of the general mental health websites have useful information and guidance on depression but here are a couple more specific ones:

Students Against Depression: Is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves. After all, who better to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome?

The NHS website is a useful resource that contains useful tips for coping with depression.
Anxiety
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. It’s normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place, starting college, a new job, meeting a deadline or delivering a presentation. This type of anxiety is unpleasant, but it may motivate you to work harder and to do a better job. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but does not interfere with your everyday life.

If, however, feelings of anxiety are extreme, long lasting and start to interfere with your day to day activities then it is time to seek help and advice. Contact Student Services for support or book in to see the School Counsellor. Anxiety feels different depending on the person experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart. Other ways people experience anxiety include nightmares, panic attacks, and painful thoughts or memories that you can’t control. You may have a general feeling of fear and worry, or you may fear a specific place or event.

Symptoms of general anxiety include:
• increased heart rate
• rapid breathing
• restlessness
• trouble concentrating
• difficulty falling asleep

An anxiety attack is a feeling of overwhelming apprehension, worry, distress, or fear. For many people, an anxiety attack builds slowly.

Common symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
• feeling faint or dizzy
• shortness of breath
• dry mouth
• sweating
• chills or hot flushes
• apprehension and worry
• restlessness
• distress
• fear
• numbness or tingling


A lot of the general mental health websites include information, advice and support on anxiety related conditions.

anxietyuk.org.uk has information on specific conditions and also access to free resources, including guides on topics such as managing exam results stress and anxiety, a breathing and relaxation guide and other workbooks.
Self Harm
Self-harm is a wide-ranging term that can cover a variety of actions or behaviours that someone takes to intentionally damage or injure their own body. It is usually a way of coping with or expressing an overwhelming feeling of emotional distress. The intention can be to punish themselves, express their distress or relieve unbearable tension or a mixture of all these things. It can also be a cry for help.

If you are self-harming and need to talk to someone please contact Student Services or make an appointment with the School Counsellor. There is lots of online support available regarding how to make yourself feel better without self-harming, including how to support yourself as well as how to support a friend who is self-harming.

A lot of the general sites on mental health have further information but there are also some specific sites that are worth looking at and some helpful apps including:

Self Harm UK: This project dedicated to supporting young people impacted by self-harm and provides a safe space to talk, ask any questions and be honest about what's going on in your life.

They also have a free online 6-week course for young people aged 14 to 19 that are struggling with self-harm.

selfinjurysupport.org.uk: has lots of self-help resources and information targeted at women and girls who self-harm and those supporting them.

Self-Heal is a free app to help with the management of self-harm. It includes distraction task suggestions, useful contacts, information on self-harm and a gallery of inspirational images.

Calm Harm is also a free app to help manage the urge to self-harm by using activities around comfort, distraction, expressing yourself, release and random activities.
Eating Disorders
Student life can be hectic and many students find that their eating becomes disorganised during their time at college and even more so at university: whether it’s eating at 3am after a night out, or finding there’s nothing in the fridge. Temptation to grab a take-away instead of planning and creating a healthy meal often seems like the best option, it’s quick and easy.

But for some people eating becomes more of a problem and can become ‘disordered’. Sometimes a diet can get out of control or eating becomes a way of coping with stress. For some, feeling unattractive, or like life is out of control can also lead to disordered eating.

Answering the following questions might help you to decide whether your eating is disordered and whether it is time to seek help:

• Do you make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
• Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
• Have you recently lost more than one stone (6kg) in a 3-month period?
• Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
• Would you say that food dominates your life?

If you answer “yes” to 2 or more of these questions then you might be time to look for some support. Please don’t suffer in silence. Contact Student Services for advice or book into the Counselling Service.

The Mix :has information specifically relating to eating disorders and university as well as more general information and support.

Beat Eating Disorders is the UK’s leading eating disorders charity and has lots of helpful information and advice on support on its website, along with helplines, online support and message boards.

These websites also have helpful information and advice regarding disordered eating:

The NHS Website
MIND
Helpguide

There are also a couple of useful apps that you can use, including Rise Up and Recovery Record. These apps provide support and tools for those struggling with food and dieting.

Mental Health First Aid

The School is committed to providing a range of mental health support for both staff and students. To support this commitment a number of staff have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders. Those in this role are to be the first point of contact for someone who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction can range from having an initial conversation through to supporting a person to get appropriate help. As well as in a crisis, our mental health first aid team are valuable in providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue.

Mental Health First Aiders are trained to:

• Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health. • Start a supportive conversation with a person who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. • Escalate to the appropriate people and stages. Including emergency services if necessary. • Maintain confidentiality and offer support as appropriate. Our First Aiders are: • Teresa Latcham, Student Services Manager • Amy Crossland, Head of HR and Organisational Development • Michelle Coleman, HR Adviser • Eyv Hardwick, (HE) Learning and Teaching Development Manager • Karen Peacock, (HE) Fashion Lecturer • Michelle Peart,(HE) Student Services Adviser • Maj Aslam, Systems Development Manager • Louise Fitchett, Registry Manager • Ben McGuigan, Student Data and Exams Assistant • Jess Solan, (FE) Student Services Adviser • Catherine Wilkinson, (FE) Student Services Adviser • Marie Jones, (FE) Student Services Administrator

Counselling

The Northern School of Art provides a comprehensive range of services to support students. Access to a Counsellor is one of the services we offer. The School Counselling Service can support you through personal difficulties and help you develop constructive ways forward. The Counselling Service is open to all students. Counselling is not appropriate at a time of crisis, but can be helpful when the immediate crisis is over and there is space to reflect and explore. If you feel you are in crisis please refer to the section on Mental Health First Aid or speak to someone for help. All Counsellors working for the School are members of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and work within its code of Ethics and Practice, it is a fully confidential service. The School’s Counselling Policy and Procedure can be found on Moodle. How to access counselling You can ask for more information or contact one of our counsellors by emailing counselling@northernart.ac.uk or through contacting Student Services. Waiting for counselling Whilst we try to keep waiting times for a first appointment to a minimum, there may be times when you may find yourself on a waiting list or asked if you would like to be referred externally. While waiting to see either a School Counsellor or an external body, there are things that you can do to help your situation. Our library stocks a number of self–help books that you can use to help cope or you might want to check out the information on this page regarding specific issues that students bring to counselling such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, sleep and drugs and alcohol dependancy. There are also helpful guides on exercise and healthy eating. Although Counselling is helpful to many people, it is also important to feel able to take control of your life and be proactive in keeping yourself mentally well.
The primary task of the Counselling Service is to support students in removing any mental health related barriers they have towards learning, so they may achieve their academic potential and engage fully in life here at The Northern School of Art.

The aim of the Counsellor is to help students find resolution to their issues or find more helpful ways forward, enabling students to have a more positive educational and social experience.

There are many different types of counselling to suit different people, below you will find a list of different types to help you decide if and what type of counselling would be useful for you.

The Counsellor will see you on a one to one basis for each session which will normally last for 45-50 minutes. The number of sessions varies from student to student and can be anything from two to three sessions, extending up to support over a number of months if you are working with complex issues. Some students dip in and out of counselling over a number of years and use it as a safety net. In one to one counselling EMDR or hypnotherapy may be offered if appropriate.

FAQS

If you are new to counselling and have some questions please don't hesitate to contact us, we realise going to an appointment can be a little daunting. To help you out we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below.

What do I say at my first appointment?
Whatever you like – it is often difficult to know where to start. There are no right and wrong things to say. Sometimes you may find you want to remain silent until you feel more comfortable and confident to speak. At other times you may find yourself saying things that surprise you, which the Counsellor will help you explore.
What can I expect from my counselling session?
You can expect to be treated with respect by your Counsellor. You can also expect them to listen to your story, without judging you. The Counsellor helps you to explore and clarify issues, and develop more constructive ways of dealing with them. You will be encouraged to discuss your progress and review goals with your Counsellor.
Is counselling confidential?
The Counsellor will not reveal anything discussed in the counselling room to anyone, unless specifically asked to do so by the client. This means that a Tutor or Student Advisor will not be given any information from the Counsellor. This also applies to your family or partner. There are exceptions to this if:

• The Counsellor thinks there may be a substantial risk or harm to yourself or others
• The Prevention of Terrorism Act or Children’s Act apply
• The Counsellor is required to appear in court to testify under oath regarding a legal case you are involved in
• If you reveal that you are laundering money from the sale of drugs, we are legally obliged to report this to the police

In any of these exceptional cases, we would attempt to discuss with you any consideration of breaking confidentiality.
How many sessions will I need?
You may want a single appointment to talk about what is troubling you or you may choose to have regular sessions over a period of time. The Counsellor will discuss options with you. There is no time limit or session limit while you are a student at The Northern School of Art. Some students use the service as a ‘safety net’ and dip in and out as appropriate.
What if I need more help than the service can provide?
Some issues and difficulties might be best dealt with by more specific services. If this is the case, the Counsellor will discuss appropriate referral options with you.
Does going to counselling mean I'm weak or a failure?
No. It takes a great deal of courage to access counselling and face the difficulties you have been struggling with. This is a positive step towards making changes or finding different and less problematic ways to cope.
What if counselling doesn't work?
If you feel that you are not getting what you want from counselling, it may mean that it is not the right time for you to work on the issues you are bringing or be ready to make changes in your life. Talk to the Counsellor about these feelings; don’t just ‘give up’. It may mean that the Counsellor needs to explore different conversations that will be more useful to you.

Wellbeing

As a School we take a whole school approach to wellbeing, offering opportunities and encouraging both staff and students to take a proactive approach to their own wellbeing so they can maximise their potential in achieving their aims, whether that be staff educating students or students achieving their own academic and/or personal goals. The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages around actions known to improve mental health and wellbeing which are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. The School’s Wellbeing Action Plan is based around these actions and aims to offer different opportunities for staff and students to get involved in activities to improve their own wellbeing and increase their resilience in difficult times.

Looking after your well-being

Looking after yourself, your brain and your body will give you the foundations to study well and thrive at college and university. If you do not look after these basics you may not be able to achieve your true potential. Eating well, sleeping well, exercising regularly and taking some time out to relax on a regular basis are the cornerstones of good wellbeing, however they can also be the first things to suffer if things are not going so well. They all link into each other and changes in one can have an impact in another. Exercising regularly helps you sleep better, as does taking time to relax; eating well helps your ability to exercise and so on. Small changes in these areas can make a really big difference to your physical, mental and emotional health and a positive impact on your ability to thrive and achieve.

Sleep
Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep! Sleep can have a major impact on mental wellbeing and day to day life. A good nights sleep can have a really positive affect on a person's mood, energy level, memory, efficiency, concentration and the ability to learn and retain new information which is especially important for students. Poor sleep pattern can even increase the risks of poor mental health and can lead to a range of illnesses such as depression, anxiety and a weakened immune system.

Your college and university years are busy and so sleep can sometimes become less of a priority. Ideally you should aim for at least 9 hours of sleep per night in order to be at your best both physically and mentally (especially to avoid fresher’s flu). Rest and recovery are important so if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep try and find some time in the day to ignore technology and just relax.

Steps you can take to improve sleep:
Making changes to your sleeping pattern is a process. It takes time but small changes can have a big impact. Here are a few tips that could help:

• Make a regular sleep schedule, start by trying to wake up at the same time every day.
• Make sure your bed is for sleep, not study. If you’re in bed watching TV, researching or on your laptop this isn’t as good for productivity and also makes it more difficult to switch off when it comes to trying to sleep. Try not to use screens in bed, blue light disrupts your sleep.
• Create the right environment, keep it as dark as possible! Noise can be an issue in student accommodation so why not try using ear plugs? Make sure your bedroom is a good moderate temperature; not too hot or cold.
• Exercise helps people sleep better in addition to its own positive effects on mental health. Aim for at least 60 minutes per day to help build up your immune system, increase energy levels, reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep. Get outside every day and have some fresh air.
• Avoid caffeine and nicotine after 5pm, watch your alcohol intake and don’t eat too late or go to bed hungry.
• Do something relaxing before bed, have a warm bath before you settle down, play some relaxing music and make sure your bed is comfortable with a good mattress and pillows.
• If can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something tedious or monotonous then try again.

Go and see a doctor if you have persistent sleep problems.

For further information on all aspects of sleep visit sleepfoundation.org

More tips on sleeping well can be found at: helpguide.org
Alcohol
Starting a new university of college can be a little daunting especially if you are living away from home for the first time. It is natural to want to give a good first impression and to be confident! In some cases, people can misuse substances like alcohol to help with this.

Pressure to misuse alcohol may increase when interacting with new friends and with new found freedom away form parents. Alcohol can make you feel very relaxed, reducing inhibitions so that you feel better about things. It’s not surprising therefore, that for some students, alcohol plays an important part in their life. If taken in moderation alcohol can help us relax and unwind with friends after a difficult day. However, occasionally we see some of the negative effects and consequences of acting under the influence of too much alcohol, e.g. sexual assault, harmful accidents, violence and break down of relationships.

Remember alcohol can sometimes make us less aware and more vulnerable. It is important to keep safe when drinking.

Benefits of avoiding alcohol:

• Clearer skin! Drinking dehydrates you and deprives the skin of the vital vitamins and nutrients it needs. Avoiding drinking will keep you more hydrated and impact your skin positively.
• Better mental health. Too much alcohol can lead to sleepless nights, stress, anxiety and memory loss which can negatively affect your mental health.
• Less risk of developing serious illnesses. The more you drink the more likely you are to develop liver disease, some cancers, heart disease, brain damage, infertility, dementia and more.

Tips for cutting down on alcohol:
• Let your friends and family know so they can offer support.
• Drink smaller measures of alcohol.
• Set a budget to limit how much you spend on alcohol.
• Try a mocktail or lower-strength options.
• Drink a pint of water before you start drinking to keep you hydrated.
• Avoid drinking everyday.
• Don’t binge drink or pre-load. Avoid drinking lots before you go out in order to save money. Research suggests that pre-drinking doesn’t save you money.
• Download the NHS’s Drinks Tracker app to keep track of how much alcohol you’re drinking.


When drinking becomes a problem

If you are drinking regularly to avoid a problem or to forget about things, it is time to seek help.

If drinking is having a negative influence on your life then it may be time to review how much you are drinking and if necessary get some support. Things to look out for are:

• You are regularly having relationship problems and arguments fuelled by alcohol.
• Have an inability to control your temper and have noticed extreme character changes.
• Experiencing problems at work, college or home due to alcohol and have an inability to concentrate.
• You aren’t able to function without alcohol or to control the amount you drink.

For more information visit the NHS website for tips on cutting down, hangover cures and advice on caring for someone with an alcohol problem.

Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline which you can call in confidence if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking.
Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm).

Smartrecovery.org.uk helps people decide whether they have a problem, builds up their motivation to change and offers a set of support techniques and tools.

alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk offers free self-help groups.

Contact Student Services for more information on local services or book an appointment with the School Counselling Service.
Drugs
As with alcohol, drugs can play a part in a student’s social life. One of the main reasons why people use drug is that they find it enjoyable. At the same time there is a lot of concerning evidence about the increasing use of illegal drugs and their effect on physical and mental health. Whatever your attitude is towards drug use, we want you to be aware of the risks. This includes risks to your health and wellbeing, as well as legal consequences.

The best way to stay safe from the negative impact of drug taking is to avoid them. Please consider the following when exposed or offered any kind of drug:

• Everyone's tolerance to drugs is different.
• Mixing substances (including alcohol) can be unpredictable and dangerous.
• You can never be sure of an illegal drug's strength or content.
• Tell your friends if you have taken drugs in case of any difficulties.
• If you know one of your friends has taken drugs, look out for them to help keep them safe.


Using drugs may bring underlying mental health problems to the surface, reinforce or worsen them. If you are worried about someone who is taking drugs, you need to focus on their feelings, behaviour and personal circumstances. Not just on their drug use in isolation. Drugs can be used as a strategy to cope with difficult situations, thoughts and feelings. If you are using drugs in this way and as a means to escape the pressures of life you may need to seek help.

For more drugs related advice, visit the Talk to Frank website.

You can also call the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 77 66 00 or contact Student Services or the School Counsellor for further advice and support.
Exercise
Finding the time to exercise when you have a busy schedule can be difficult but it is worthwhile! There are lots of benefits to gain from exercising and research shows that it can even enhance your academic performance. The best part is, it doesn’t have to be expensive either with lots of low cost or no cost options!

Start small and try to do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for you. Adults should do some type of physically activity everyday, the more you do the better. Such as:

• Complete strengthening activities that work all the major muscles including: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Try to add this in to your routine on at least two days a week to feel the benefits.
• Try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensive activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.
• Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.

What are the benefits to exercising?

Exercising improves your overall physical health, but not only that, it has been suggested there is a connection between being physically healthy and a strong academic performance. This is because low-intensity exercise can give our energy levels a much-needed boost, which is perfect for helping you to keep going; to meet that deadline or persevere through a day full of lectures!

Exercise helps promote brain development producing proteins that prompts your body to grow new nerves as well as helps existing brain cells to survive. One area of the brain that is particularly responsive to these proteins is the hippocampus. This area of our brain is responsible for retaining information. Exercising regularly can literally help you take in and retain what you learn in lectures more easily.

Research shows that just 20 minutes of exercise before studying can improve concentration and help you focus on your learning. Different types of exercise affect the brain in different ways, which means certain forms of physical activity can help you concentrate better than others. A brisk walk has been linked to strong engagement when it comes to learning. Yoga is also a great way to learn self-discipline and how to focus your mind. Exercise has even been found to treat mild-to-moderate depression as effectively as medication (without the side effects). Taking the time to exercise before you study will keep you in the right frame of mind for learning. It’s also known as a great stress buster. The NHS website has a number of tools to help you get started with physical activity! Including advice on taking up new sports and getting started with walking or even running.
Healthy Eating
As a student life can be busy and so it can be easy to get into bad habits like regular fast food or skipping meals but this can affect your wellbeing. Keeping a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress and perform better academically.

Benefits of eating healthily and balanced can:

• Improve your mood and wellbeing.
• Give you more energy and stamina.
• Help you think more clearly.
• Improve your sleeping patterns.
• Help you maintain a healthy body weight.
• Lower your risk of developing chronic health conditions.


Tips for healthy eating:

Eat a healthy breakfast! Studies show that skipping breakfast has a negative effect on academic work. Even if you’re running late grab a bagel, a piece of fruit or something to give you the energy you need to start the day.
If you must eat fast food, choose wisely. Consider pizza with less cheese or go for regular sizes. Limit high fat foods like chips or fried chicken.
Keep healthy snacks on hand. This way if hunger strikes you won’t be tempted by less healthy choices frequently. You could try fresh or dried fruit, nuts, seeds and rice cakes.
If you want to lose weight, make sure you do it sensibly. Extreme diets that offer a quick fix usually don’t work long term and can be harmful. The only safe way to lose weight, feel good and keep it off, is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Try to limit your sugar intake. Sugar provides calories in your diet but few other nutrients, and it contributes significantly to tooth decay. Use it sparingly and consider alternatives.
Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol supplies calories but has no other nutritional value to benefit from.
Drink lots of water! Water has so many health benefits such as improving memory, mood, reducing sugar cravings and aiding weight management. Keeping hydrated reduces headaches, helps energy levels, can improve exercise performance, as well as help prevent numerous health conditions and reducing the effects of a hangover!

The NHS recommends consuming 6 to 8 glasses a day, which includes lower fat milks, low sugar or sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee.

You may find the following links helpful in supporting your healthy eating:

nhs.uk/live-well

bbcgoodfood.com
Self Care
As well as looking after your physical health it is really important to do things for yourself in order to protect and boost your mental health and wellbeing. People are different and what works best for you might be different for someone else but trying to incorporate some of following general tips can help support your wellbeing and provide a solid foundation for achieving in work and study.

• Make time for relaxation. Try yoga or some form of meditation or mindfulness practice (more information below).
• Do something you enjoy doing.
• Try exercise, even something as simple as a walk can give you the boost you need. • Get outside! Fresh air and nature have been shown to increase mood and the ability to focus.
• Keep a gratitude diary to help you focus on all the positives in your life.

There are a wide variety of apps to support self-care and wellbeing, from mood trackers, gratitude diaries, relaxation methods, healthy eating and exercise support. This article offers insight on some of the best wellbeing and meditation apps:

harpersbazaar.com/wellness-meditation

Other helpful websites include:

nhs.uk/mentalhealth
mindcharityadvice.co.uk

Mindfulness
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts, feelings and the world around you. It has been found to help to cope with the stresses of modern-day life. Mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk is a website that gives you more information and tips to help you get started.

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