Wellbeing and positive mental health

Wellbeing and positive mental health

Advice for BHASVIC students from James Barton (Student Wellbeing Lead)

Throughout our students’ time at BHASVIC we are always looking for ways to promote and support positive wellbeing and mental health. We recognise that the current situation and all its inherent uncertainty may have an impact on the continued wellbeing of our students, their families and friends, and wanted to provide some advice and resources to support in this.

For young people college represents a safe space, a place to be themselves, and structure and security in their daily lives. Whilst access to the physical space has been removed for the majority of our students we want to continue to provide these elements wherever possible. 

We encourage students to maintain contact with their Personal Tutor remotely who will continue to be able to offer support and guidance via email or Teams. Just as importantly we want students to socialise online with their peers and friends at the normal times you would have done – hook up and have a chat, take a break and gossip, banter, help each other with learning – whatever they used to do together when hanging out in the social areas at the college. Students should try and maintain the structure of their college day, providing a sense of routine and purpose, and constantly remind themselves of what it is about their subjects they enjoy and makes them personal to them.

For the most up to date information on our Wellbeing offer for current students please see BHASVIC Wellbeing.

Advice from specialist organisations

There is a range of material available online to help support young people’s mental health and wellbeing at this time. We believe the following are of particular relevance to our students:

At the core of advice around wellbeing at this time is to ensure you maintain connections with others, develop a healthy routine, avoid speculation and consider your news sources and engagement with social media carefully.

What works for our students?

Our last two student ‘Emotional Health and Wellbeing’ surveys have identified the following five things as having the most positive impact on a student’s wellbeing:

  • Listening to music
  • Friendships and socialising
  • Good quality sleep
  • Watching films or TV
  • Managing my work well

We would encourage all students to consider this as they plan their routines and adapt to remote working. For instance:

  • It might be a good time to make some more playlists for different moods or times of the day.
  • Ensure that you are finding ways to keep in touch with your friends and share experiences, but keep to the rules about social distancing: no bars, pubs, clubs or face-to-face contact for now.
  • Sleep thrives on constancy so try and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and stick to your usual college routine.
  • Give yourself time to unwind and be distracted with a boxset or film.
  • Don’t forget the satisfaction and pride you feel when you have managed your work and other responsibilities well.

12 Rocks of Wellbeing

Our recent work with Andrew Wright highlighted the ’12 Rocks’ that enable us to maintain positive wellbeing. The rocks are:

  • Good sleep
  • Exercise
  • Eating the right food and drinking the right amount of water
  • Mindfulness
  • Mind wandering
  • Being aware, accepting & sharing emotions
  • Walking outside in nature
  • Listening to music
  • Connecting meaningfully with family & friends
  • Gratitude and Kindness
  • Engaging with your life’s purpose
  • Learning, playing, creating

Not all of these will be easy to fulfil over the next few weeks and months but we encourage students to try and engage with each one every day where possible. A presentation outlining the neuroscience behind these rocks with more information, video links and practical ideas can be found HERE and a short YouTube video that explores anxiety in response to the current situation can be found HERE.