Support and Wellbeing | NSCG - Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group
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‘Start to Success’ is a 2-year project which aims to develop a whole community approach to support the mental health and wellbeing of students, led by Keele and Staffordshire University. The region’s universities, colleges, local authorities, police and NHS providers have come together with a common purpose to remove barriers, improve support and services, and enable student success.

They've produced some great resources to help students throughout lockdown, which can be downloaded below.

The whole team here at NSCG take the health, support and welfare of you all really seriously.

We are all in this together, and we are here to support you through this uncertain time. We understand that everyone will have their own worries and concerns, and how this will affect us, our families and friends. It is such an important time to look after your mental health, and we hope our tips and resources will help you.

Seek accurate information from legitimate sources

There is a LOT of fake news out there which can cause us added stress and worry. Stay connected with current events, but be careful where you get your news and health information from. Get your information from official sources like Public Health England. Credible sources of information are key to avoid misinformation and anxiety.

This really is a fast-moving situation and we will of course keep you updated with information as we receive it. Keep an eye out on our COVID-19 page on the college website. You can find more updates on the NHS Corona Virus webpage and COVID-19 webpage.

Don’t get too obsessed COVID-19 news

Try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds can intensify feelings of worry and distress. Consider turning off automatic notifications on your phone and taking a break from the news.

Take the time away from the news to read a book, give a vulnerable loved one a call or spend some extra time studying.

Stay social

Social media is now more than ever, an invaluable way for so many of us to stay in touch with friends and family. However, you may start to feel worried or anxious as stories are shared and people voice their opinions.

Consider taking a break or limiting your time spent on social media if this is starting to affect your mental health.

Look after yourself

If you are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, you may stop doing things you usually enjoy.

Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, try learning something new. There has never been a better time to broaden your mind!

Focus on things you can control instead of those that you cannot (like the virus). As we all know, good hygiene is so important at the moment, so please keep up the good work with your hand washing routine.

Try your best to stick to your normal routine where possible (we know this is a tricky one!), but where there is a will, there is a way. Eat healthy food options rather than comfort eating on chocolate and junk food and remember to stay hydrated to help your mood and energy levels. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and try new ways of exercising around the home with one of the many online exercise tutorials out there to make a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings.

Stay connected!

Keeping in touch with your friends and family will ease stress and help you feel more connected, this is especially important with the government's social distancing measures.

Talking is always the best option to get through tough times so take advantage of technology to keep in touch with everyone. You may be a real lifeline to a loved one too who may be feeling lonely and down themselves.

Practice positive thinking and stay in control

Bring positivity to your home - now is the perfect time to spend quality time with loved ones. Please appreciate every minute of it! Amongst all of this madness, you will notice a real sense of calmness – fewer cars on the road, more wildlife around your garden are just a couple of things that you may have noticed. Look up at the sky and notice how few aeroplane vapour trails there are!

Enjoy a family board game, just like at Christmas or video call family and friends especially those you may have not seen or spoken to in a while. Or what about a jigsaw – retro or what! But puzzles are a great way to keep your mind active and focused. Feeling close to people will increase your oxytocin, a hormone that bonds people and switches off stress hormones, influencing a calming effect on your body.

Acknowledge your feelings

It is normal to feel a range of negative emotions during situations such as this and you are not alone. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you're feeling. This could be achieved by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practicing meditation.

We will all react differently, and one coping mechanism won’t necessarily work for us all.

Take a look at the Headspace website for lots of tips and techniques around meditation at home. Alternatively, you can visit the Mind website for more hints and tips on how to take control of your situation.

Make time to talk with your children

We know that some students at NSCG will have children and so it is so important to stay calm and positive for them. We all know that children can ask tricky questions but dependant on their age, give them the information they need in an appropriate and supportive way. A safe, loving home will be enough for many along with lots of fun activities to keep them occupied and give you time to have a brew!

For help and advice on how to explain the situation to children, take a look at this useful advice from Young Minds and call their Parents Helpline if you feel you need extra support.

Resources for managing your mental health

NHS - Every Mind Matters is an NHS Website with expert advice and practical tips on looking after your mental health.

Action for Happiness: Active Coping Calendar - Download PDF

Action for Happiness is a UK charity that aims to increase the happiness in the world by bringing together like-minded people from all walks of life and supporting them to take practical action to build a happier and more caring society.

There are lots of reasons for optimism. Setting positive goals for the future gives our lives a sense of direction and purpose. And although we face many challenges there are also lots of reasons to stay hopeful. By consciously choosing our priorities we can overcome issues, make progress and focus on what really matters.

During the period that NSCG is closed, our Student Welfare Team are continuing to offer counselling services and mental wellbeing support. Please contact the team on the telephone numbers below if you feel you need to access support.

Telephone 01782 254249 (Newcastle and Stafford Students)

Call or text 079190218684 (Newcastle Students)

Call or text 07860927831 (Stafford Students)