Glasgow University mental health services: what’s on offer

Published

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Laurie Clarke and Rowan Harris
Writers

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and with the semester now well underway, we’re all aware that life at university can often be pretty stressful. It’s important to know where you can turn for support and advice, so whether you’re a fresher still finding your feet, or a postgrad with the world on your shoulders, there’s something on offer for you.

Counselling & Psychology

Glasgow University is home to a dedicated team of mental health professionals, ranging from Disability Advisors to Mental Health Advisors to Counsellors. These teams offer a range of resources to fit anyone’s needs, from one-on-one support to engaging group sessions.

From Friday the 7th of October, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses will be running 14:30-16:30 in the Fraser Building. Each two-hour session will build upon the fundamental principles of meditation and mindful practice in everyday life. The sessions will re-commence for new applicants from February 2017. For more information, contact studentcounselling@glasgow.ac.uk

For students who are really struggling with their mental health, counselling can be accessed in two ways. To apply for a block of sessions, complete the application form found on the university counselling website. In addition to this, four 50-minute sessions are available every day on a first come, first served basis. The sign up sheet is available from 9am each morning, so be sure to book to secure your spot.

For more information, contact studentcounselling@glasgow.ac.uk

If you have concerns that a health condition or learning needs may affect your studies, it’s important to register with the Disability Service as soon as you can. This will give you the opportunity to talk with a friendly member of staff, and discuss the options available to you in the year ahead. Bear in mind that the cut-off to apply for exam support this December is November 4th. For more information, contact disability@glasgow.ac.uk

Peer Support is currently available to students of the Medical School, Veterinary School and the Adam Smith Business School. This service is the perfect opportunity to provide moral support and swap practical tips amongst your fellow students. If you’d be interested in rolling out the Peer Support scheme to your school, contact studentpeersupport@glasgow.ac.uk

Compassionate Mind Training sessions will resume from January 23rd to February 27th 2017. Hosted in Round Reading Room 309, these sessions extend support and practical advice to students struggling with self-doubt. If you’d like to engage with these classes, or see the program extended into the spring, contact george.mitchell@glasgow.ac.uk  
If you’d like to explore any of these resources in greater detail, all information is available at http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/counselling/

GUSA

For many students, the Sports Association will form a fundamental part of their university experience. As anyone who’s ever encountered stress will know, exercise is one of the most time-honoured ways to keep mentally – and physically – healthy. Of course, it’s not so easy for everyone to get involved, which is why GUSA has cultivated their own support system.

Starfish was founded to provide support to anyone who’s experienced disordered eating and exercise. Users of this service can be motivated by personal experience, or by the experience of someone close to them. Starfish members can access the University GP, Counselling Service and Disability Service, and have access to CBT support at reduced rates through the Glasgow Cognitive Therapy Centre. Recently, Starfish has expanded its services by connecting with Glasgow Eating Disorder Support, and sessions are currently hosted on a fortnightly basis. For more information, contact gusa-welfare@gla.ac.uk

The GUSA Buddy System supports people who are anxious about exercising, or feel uncomfortable attending the gym by themselves. Buddies are assigned based on compatibility, so service users should find they have lots in common with their partner. Buddies work with the service user for a month, during which time they will have access to the university gym, even if they are not a member. After this positive experience, service users should feel more confident exercising and using gym equipment independently. To benefit from this service or volunteer as a GUSA Buddy, contact Sally Bell at gusa-welfare@glasgow.ac.uk

QMU

The QMU recently launched Elephant in the Room, an initiative aimed at tackling the issues and stigmas surrounding mental health across campus. The campaign itself was born of the perceived failure of the ‘See Me’ contract, a pledge to work on improving mental health across campus, which was signed by all four student bodies in the academic year 2013/14. The project aims to educate students on mental health, signpost useful services and share advice on self-care. The initiative is entirely run by student volunteers and operates on a minimal budget provided by the Campaigns and Charities Committee. The project has of yet received no support from the University, however it is the QMU’s intention to “secure some financial support to fund training in peer counselling in order to offer this as a service to university students over the coming year”. Further information can be found both on the Elephant in the Room blog, and on pamphlets found in the QMU foyer.

In the pipelines for the union is a regular coffee morning to provide a safe environment for students to share their own experience of mental health. In the future, the QMU aims to build a peer support service on campus by providing committee members with mental health first aid training and peer support skills. To keep up to date with developments within the union, explore useful mental health resources, or even get involved visit http://www.qmunion.org.uk/ and http://qmuelephantintheroom.blogspot.co.uk/

SRC

On September 28th, the Student Representative Council hosted Look After Yourself, a panel on mental health and self-care. In attendance were representatives from Bipolar Scotland, B-eat, the Steve Retson Project and Penumbra. The panel drew a crowd of curious students, who were invited to quiz the experts for useful advice and information that they could apply to their own lives. The discussion was an opportunity to shed light on the support available to students beyond the university, which we have condensed here:

Information, moral support and resources can be found on bipolar disorder here: http://www.bipolarscotland.org.uk/
Treatment, services and information on eating disorders can be found here: http://www.bipolarscotland.org.uk/
Counselling for gay men (the Steve Retson Project), counselling for transgender people and a sexual assault referral centre can be located here: http://www.sandyford.org/
Mental health advocacy and information on self-management can be found here: http://www.penumbra.org.uk/