My name is Emma and I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 14. Over the past six years, it’s something I’ve learned to manage, but sometimes I can’t do it by myself. And that’s okay.
These struggles haven’t gone away since I started university in September, but the support I had at home, from my family, is much harder to access.
That is why I want to tell you about the different resources you can access as a Newcastle University student. Whether you’ve struggled with your mental health before or it’s something that has only recently started to affect you, it’s important to get the help you need when you need it.
If you feel as though you are able to identify your struggles and work through them at your own pace, in your own time, the following resources can be accessed without speaking to the mental health team or counselling service.
If you want to take charge of your troubles and start working through some helpful resources from a clinical organisation, Newcastle University recommends these workbooks.
If you already have a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, you can find out more information about your condition and the different ways your condition might manifest in your life on the information sheets provided. You can then access a range of work sheets or even an entire booklet to help you work through these problems and monitor them. I personally found the information on insomnia really helpful and have been keeping a sleep diary for several months now. Having a record of your symptoms is really helpful if you plan on speaking to a GP or counsellor.
If you don’t have an official diagnosis, you may still find a lot of the content really helpful, so I highly recommend having a look through these resources.
The iNCLude App
Created by Newcastle University, iNCLude is a self-help app that can help you create positive habits in your daily routine. The app has a chat function called Charley, who will check in on you throughout the day at times you set, and prompt you to complete various activities on the app that could help you.
You can track your habits, access wellness plans, podcasts, guided breathing exercises and much more. The iNCLude app is a great place to start as it can also direct you to the other services available through the university and to emergency helplines if you need them.
The Student Wellbeing service also offers a range of workshops for different problems you might be facing. For example, if you deal with anxiety over public speaking, there is a workshop to help you manage Anxiety and Presentations, or if you struggle with negative thought cycles, the “Challenging Negative Thoughts” workshop could be really helpful for you.
You can find a list of the upcoming workshops here. Though this service is tailored to postgraduates, I was recommended it by a member of the counselling team. They are usually delivered in person and the locations are specified on the booking portal. If you can’t attend the session, the session you want to attend isn’t available, or if you don’t feel comfortable going in person, all of the slides for the different workshops that are run throughout the year are available here. If you are able to attend in person, many of the sessions allow time for you to ask questions to members of the wellbeing team and for discussion with others.
SilverCloud – Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
If you’re not familiar with CBT, an easy way to think about it is “rewiring” your brain. It can help you recognise patterns of thought that are harmful to your wellbeing and replace them with rational and helpful “connections” in your mind.
Available to all Newcastle University students for free, SilverCloud is a virtual library of CBT programmes, each one tailored to a specific wellbeing or mental health struggle. You can access these programmes anywhere from a PC, mobile phone, or tablet.
The wellbeing programmes include CBT for sleep, stress, body image, resilience and more. If you’re dealing with a mental health struggle, there are programmes for depression, anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic, bipolar, healthy anxiety and so on.
There are even programmes tailored to those dealing with chronic illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, chronic pain and more.
If you think you might benefit from one of these programmes but you’re not sure which one is best for you, you can take a five-minute quiz on the SilverCloud website, which will recommend a programme for you.
For the full list of programmes available, follow this link.
If you think counselling could be beneficial for you or if you’re not sure what type of help you need, request a screening appointment with a member of the counselling and mental health team. You can do this via email, an online form or phone call, depending on what you’re most comfortable with.
The initial call usually takes place on Microsoft Teams, lasting around 30 minutes. A member of the team will assess your individual needs and explain what they think is the best course of action for you. This could be one-to-one counselling, group workshops, a referral to a different team in the University (e.g., the disability support team), online self-help resources (discussed above) or a recommendation to contact your GP.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful and feel one step closer to getting the support you need. Please remember that if you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves or someone else, you should follow the urgent help guidance.