Health and wellbeing
Check out our other student stories on wellbeing
How to boost your wellbeing
Author - Prosasti Ganguly, Vice President Community, Hertfordshire Students' Union
Student Health and Wellbeing
As a University student, you experience many changes in your lifestyle. You have a lot more work to do, including seminar work, reading 📚, assessments 📝, revision, exams etc. Some students are faced with moving away from home, 🏡 whilst others have the daily commute 🚗 to university which can take up a lot of your time. Some also have other responsibilities that they have to fit into their already busy schedule. ⏰
Whilst you have all of this going on, it is important to look after your health and wellbeing. You have to remember that these should be one of, if not, your biggest priority. ✅
The Medical Centre and Prescriptions
There are a number of facilities available to you at the University of Hertfordshire. Firstly, you have the University of Hertfordshire Medical Centre where you can book an appointment to see a doctor or nurse. 👩⚕👨⚕I highly recommend registering as a patient here if you are planning on living on campus or in rented accommodation away from home. ✅ If you feel unwell you can make an appointment to be seen here. 🏥 ASDA is not that far away from the campuses to go and get your prescriptions from either!
The university also offers a counselling service where you can go and speak to a qualified counsellor about whatever problems you may face at university in your academic/personal life. 💭 Don’t feel as though you will be judged for going to speak to a counsellor, they hear about many different problems that students face. They offer traditional face-to-face sessions to Skype and Whatsapp support groups. 📞
You may find that living in university accommodation is completely different to living at home and you may experience some challenges along the way… but it’s okay! ✅ If you do have any problems then you can speak to the Student Support Officers on campus. These officers work in halls to support the residential students and provide them with advice. 💬 This includes out of hours support as well, there is a team of Resident Assistants on each campus who are there to help as well. 🕰 Don’t worry if you’re living in rented accommodation off of campus, including those who commute to Hatfield 🚌, there is a Community Liaison and Support Officer who is responsible for the welfare of those students. You can contact the Support Officer if you’re experiencing any problems here.
There is a lot of support for you academic wise as well. You each have a School of Study and within these Schools, there is a range of support to help you with your subject academic skills. 📕 You should also have a programme leader who you can go to, to ask any questions, they will try their best to help resolve any issues you have or point you in the right direction! You also have the LRCs (Libraries) where you can go to study as well as your place of residence.
The University offer a Careers service where you can book an appointment to see someone about your career decisions, including help with CV’s, advice on applications etc. The Careers service also offer a lot of advice and information on their online website. Feel free to book an appointment to go along and ask any questions you have! 💻
Taking Time For Yourself
Remember to still take time for yourself! Go and spend time with your friends 👬👫 and family 👫👨👩👧👦👭, go and watch Netflix 📺 or listen to your music 🎵! Go read your favourite books📚 or visit your favourite restaurants 🍴. Your time at university is meant to be a wonderful experience, you should try and find the right work/social life balance. As long as you manage your time efficiently, you will make the most of everything! ⏰
There are also a number of other services available to you throughout your time at university, why not go along to our website to check them out! 🖥 Sometimes knowing that there is support around every corner of your university experience can help calm your nerves of starting uni!
Just Remember that your health and Wellbeing is key in your university experience! ✅
How to boost your wellbeing
Student Wellbeing services
Author - Sian
During term time, student life can be a bit of a blur and sometimes feel overwhelming. With classes, assignments, socials, part-time jobs, managing childcare and commuting, having a few coping techniques to hand to help calm you down in times of need can make all the difference.
Mental health and wellbeing are often linked to academic stress and financial difficulties. In this blog, Prosasti, Hertfordshire Students' Union's Vice President Community (pictured below) shares her suggestions of ways to help you relax, clear your mind and take care of yourself - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Tip 1 - Take a break
When you feel overwhelmed, it's easy to panic and end up doing too much, which ends up increasing your stress levels and reducing what you get done.
Try taking a break, even if it's just for a ten minute walk. Listening to music or talking to a friend can help you to reset, allowing you to go back to your tasks with a clear mind, ready to take on the day.
The Students' Union has lots of opportunities for you to get involved in societies that interest you. Taking a break to socialise can make all the difference to your wellbeing. You can also visit our multi-faith chaplaincy at The Key on College Lane campus to find out about prayer, meditation and reflection.
Tip 2 - Get active
It may be hard to find the motivation to exercise at this time of year, as it's easier to hide away, wrap up and relax., but physical health directly benefits psychological health and academic performance (Hughes, G., 2020:31).
For me, I like taking part in the Active Students' sessions. The endorphins from the exercise helps me to feel motivated and positive about tackling my to do list.
Take a look at the Active Students' classes available online and face-to-face or visit the gym and pool at the Hertfordshire Sports Village on de Havilland campus.
Tip 3 - Reach out
You are not alone. From talking to a housemate, to contacting the University's Student Wellbeing team, help is available.
Throughout my time at Uni, I've found mindfulness really useful in managing day-to-day stress and it helps me to calm myself down. Through breathing techniques, walking in the fresh air around our campuses and talking myself out of a stressful situations, I can manage my anxieties much more effectively.
Our professionally trained counsellors and mental health wellbeing advisors are available to help with one-to-one support or advise on managing conditions and concerns. Our student wellbeing advisors can be contacted if you want to speak to someone in your shoes. There's also our free 24/7 confidential counselling helpline for you to talk and get support whenever you need it.
Tip 4 - Assignment and study support
Balancing assignments is no easy task, but there is plenty of academic support available to help you succeed.
If you're struggling with how to approach an assignment, the University's Study Success Hubs have a range of resources available to support you to achieve your best in an assignment, presentation or exam. You can also get one-to-one support.
I'm part of the Herts' Business School, within your School you can talk to other people on your course via Canvas and share your knowledge and bounce around ideas. It's a great way to make friends with similar interests too!
Tip 5 - Plan your spending
One of the best parts about being a student are the discounts and freebies! From money off clothing with a TOTUM card to take-away discounts and deals by showing your student ID, it's worthwhile researching if any reductions are available before spending.
When I started Uni, one of my biggest challenges was budgeting and not overspending! By setting out a clear budget and knowing how much money I have spare, I can have fun with my friends and not end up in my overdraft!
If you need help, the Students' Union's Advice and Support team are on hand to offer guidance on your financial wellbeing. For issues with student fees, student loan queries or extra help managing your finances, contact the University's Student Centre.
Life can feel overwhelming at times, but there is help available - you don't need to suffer alone! We're all in this together.
Student Wellbeing services: Siân’s story
Student Wellbeing service
Author - Sian
The University of Hertfordshire’s Student Wellbeing services provide support with counselling, mental health, and disability services. Part of the Office of the Dean of Students, Wellbeing is always available to support students on their journey at Herts. They offer a range of services from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling, to exam preparation workshops and Study Needs Agreements (SNAs), providing tailored support and adjustments for students.
Recent Dietetics graduate Siân reflects on their experience of Student Wellbeing throughout their university journey:
“Overall, the Uni experience itself was good, but it coincided with a period of poor mental health for my first two years. That had an impact on my enjoyment of the Uni experience, but I addressed it through meetings with Robin, a Mental Health Advisor in the Student Wellbeing Service as well as external services like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) from the NHS.
I'd been diagnosed with anxiety and depression a few years before university. I was at college before Herts and used the wellbeing service there. I knew I wanted to continue at Uni, so I found and contacted the wellbeing service in first couple of weeks of term. The process was easy, simple and quick. I then had support throughout my three years at Herts.
To start with I saw Robin once a week face-to-face, as well as emailing him almost on a daily basis. We kept in touch during the summer break; at the start of second year, my mental health took a hit, and I continued to see Robin on a weekly basis to support me through that time. Alongside that, I started CBT and gradually started to extend our meetings to every two weeks, then every three weeks, then once a month.
With Covid, everything moved online, and I spoke to him every fortnight. Meeting online felt weird at first but I got used to it and was still able to process what we needed to talk about.
The wellbeing sessions are very informal – you can dictate what’s spoken about. If you’ve got particular concerns, that can be the topic of conversation. When you have poor mental health it can get very noisy inside your head. The sessions are a chance to empty your brain of intrusive thoughts and do some mental exercises to help calm those down. We often talked about ‘what ifs’ and used a lot of metaphors about emotional baggage – how we can picture it and how to combat it.
I’m a highly anxious person and wellbeing meetings were essential to me passing my studies. Without them, I wouldn’t have even passed first year – but I completed my course and achieved a first. The wellbeing staff and my lecturers were always really supportive, and I couldn’t have done it without them. It also took a lot of hard work on my part to maintain good grades during my degree and attend the wellbeing meetings, as I knew they were just as important as lectures and classes.
It’s very helpful having an external person who is a trained professional without emotional attachment to you – it’s different from family support, as the message goes in better. I got on very well with Robin and was able to feel reassured about my worries.
I’m now at the end of my journey with the wellbeing service. My last ever session is a goodbye, as I feel I’ve now completed my treatment – I’ve come so far that I don’t feel I need any more support. That’s a huge step for me. I’m ending it on my terms, it’s not that we’ve run out of time because I’m graduating. I’m in control and I can move onto the next stage of my life with confidence.
For anyone who’s seeking advice, don’t ever think you’re taking up their time or think that someone else is more important. It’s your time and you deserve to be heard. If you feel yourself struggling, it’s better to seek help because it can really affect your academic studies.
I can’t speak highly enough of the University experience and all the support I received."
Student Wellbeing service: Emmanuelle’s story
Student Wellbeing service
Author - Emmanuelle
The University of Hertfordshire’s Student Wellbeing services provide support with counselling, mental health, and disability services. Part of the Office of the Dean of Students, Wellbeing is always available to support students on their journey at Herts. They offer a range of services from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and counselling, to exam preparation workshops and Study Needs Agreements (SNAs), providing tailored support and adjustments for students.
Law student Emanuelle reflects on their experience of using the Student Wellbeing service throughout their university journey:
“My university experience was good from the get-go, but I felt like my studies were weighing me down, and I needed help.
I can’t remember exactly the first time I found out about student wellbeing, but I must have been loitering around the Hutton Hub on the College Lane campus one day and I found the wellbeing centre upstairs – it was by chance, in a sense. I had the chance to meet with a supporter on the day, and I found that everyone was very friendly and very approachable. The hours they work, and the appointments that we can just walk into, made the service all the more welcoming. I met with a lovely lady, and she was very down to earth – they all were. I was able to open up about my life and experiences with a real sense of support and professionalism.
The service provided me with counselling, meetings to check up on how I was doing, and for my exams, extra time and rest breaks.
I used the service regularly at first, but then as and when I needed. I liked to own my own struggle and have a sense of control, and that was facilitated by the service. I was also able to check up on myself by using the Wellbeing resources, where I could see if I was feeling low or not that day. This gave me the power to seek support if I needed it.
It allowed me to feel a sense of responsibility, because I knew I was doing all I could to get the best out of my studies. And I did! I felt positive at the end of my journey and felt that I had passed through a very important time in my studies and my life. The service gave support and a helping hand.
It changed my view of mental health services. Usually, I wouldn’t get the luxury to speak openly with others so personally, or have such positive feedback. In my previous mental health support, there was either too much interaction - I didn’t want to chat to them always - or not enough proper reviews, and they weren’t as welcoming as Wellbeing. The Herts Student Wellbeing service was non-directive and uncritical.
I’m happy to be at the University of Hertfordshire. All the different societies I encountered really did give me that sense of belonging. It’s not just there in the Wellbeing service, it’s the whole environment of the University. I’m glad I came here. My internal struggles don’t defy my ability to succeed, and the support I had in my time here helped to get the best out of me”.
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