Report your symptoms so that we can support you

Posted on

You will not be penalised. We need to keep you and the community safe, so report your symptoms, self-isolate, and we’ll support you.

We have a Covid Support Team especially for this unique period in time. You must contact them:

• if you have Coronavirus symptoms
• if you have received a positive test result

How do I report symptoms?

If you develop Coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate in your accommodation and ring 0117 32 87000. The phone line is open from 09:00 to 19:00 every day.

You can also report symptoms online using Infohub (login required). If you report your symptoms online a member of the team will call you back.

What we’ll do

We’ll take some details, explain how to book a free test with the NHS (if you haven’t already) and what your next steps are.

We can help you access your learning resources online and make sure you have all the support you need. We’ll also check back in with you throughout your self-isolation to make sure you’re ok and to see if there’s anything you need from us.

This goes for all students, wherever you’re living. For information visit our University life in self-isolation page.

Drugs and alcohol – reducing the risk

Posted on

by Becky Risley, Senior Drug and Alcohol Practitioner at SPACED

The festivals were cancelled, nightclubs are closed and the pubs are shutting at 10pm.

Despite the rules and regulations in place, using drugs including alcohol in halls and student accommodation is something that is likely to happen. Behind closed doors, without the usual protection from door and bar staff, as well as medical teams, the risk of accidental overdoses has increased for students.

For some, drug use – including alcohol – at universities is a whole new experience while for others it’s something they feel very familiar with. Whatever your previous experience, educating yourself is the best way to ensure you stay safe.

Tragically we have already seen the fatal consequences of drug use at university in the North East over the weekend. In the South West there are local reports of substances being mis-sold and having devastating consequences for those who choose to use them – follow SPACED Instagram for up to date drug warnings and harm reduction advice.

Accidental overdoses are preventable – look after yourselves and look after each other. If you or anyone else on campus may have taken too much, and especially if someone is unresponsive, call 999 and/or UWE Security on 0117 328 9999 to ask for help.

To reduce the risks and ensure you’re making an informed decision you can follow these steps:

Large quantities of alcohol consumed rapidly can cause respiratory depression, coma and death.

  • Avoid shots, doubles and strong spirits to avoid becoming too drunk too quickly.
  • If alcohol is combined with other drugs especially Ketamine and benzodiazepines (eg Xanax) the risks increase greatly.
  • Avoid using alcohol and illicit drugs together.

Mixing drugs can be fatal.

  • Using Drugs+Me can give you factual information about what the risks are when you combine one substance with another.

What are you taking?

  • Lockdown has affected the supply of drugs into the country leading to shortages which results in some drugs being heavily cut.
  • Using a reagent test can identify if a drug that you have brought is what you think it is – although it can’t tell you how strong it is, it’s a way to ensure you aren’t putting dangerous adulterants into your body.
  • But pure doesn’t mean safe – high purity MDMA can be very dangerous when taken in large quantities.

If you would like advice or support related to drug including alcohol use you can contact the UWE Wellbeing Service and ask for a 1:1 appointment or to attend a one-off group harm reduction awareness session with SPACED.

SPACED offer a free, confidential harm reduction advice and information around drugs including alcohol.


Becky Risley is a Senior Drugs and Alcohol Practitioner in the Wellbeing Service here at UWE Bristol. In response to events at universities in the North East over the weekend, she is raising awareness to help you stay safe as you move onto campus.

Take time to educate yourself on the harms that drugs (including alcohol) can cause. Remember, you can never eliminate risk completely, so it’s important to understand your own motivations and risk factors.

UWE Bristol does not endorse the use of drugs including alcohol, but we want our students to be safe. We operate a policy of harm reduction that prioritises the welfare and wellbeing of our community.

However, if there is reason to believe that a student has been dealing drugs we will immediately suspend the student pending internal investigation and/or criminal proceedings.

Staying well in self-isolation

Posted on

If you, or someone you have spent time with, shows symptoms of COVID-19 or has a positive test, you may need to self-isolate for up to 14 days. You may find that you feel more stressed or anxious at first, particularly if you haven’t experienced anything like this before.

While self-isolation may be a challenging time, there is a lot you can do to stay healthy and positive while you’re staying at home, so that you’ll feel ready to get back out there safely afterwards.

Be kind to yourself

If you are self-isolating, you are likely to be away from family and friends and will likely have had a significant change to your normal routine.

Remind yourself that it is normal for your mood to have been affected by the current situation. It’s normal to feel a sense of grief for the loss of ‘normal life’. When we are grieving any loss it is normal to experience a range of emotions including sadness, bargaining, denial and anger.

So notice how you are feeling but try not to judge your feelings as good or bad. Try to avoid shaming yourself for experiencing these normal feelings. It might also be helpful to share your feelings with other people.

Remind yourself that anxiety is a completely normal response to this abnormal situation. As humans we are biologically programmed to experience anxiety when we feel we’re under threat but it can be helpful to acknowledge our anxiety when it shows up and normalise this.

If you are self-isolating with other people you may want to discuss each having your own space to retreat where you can go if you feel overwhelmed, want to practice some self-care or need some time to be alone.

And remind yourself that this is temporary. Remember that although the current situation is difficult, this will pass.

If you have previously had difficulties with your mental health, then this may be a more challenging time than normal, and your usual support networks may be less available. Make sure that you keep taking care of your mental health as much as possible, and if you need to seek extra support then don’t put it off – services are able to offer remote support and find ways of helping through these unusual times.

Keep to your usual routine

Having a structure to the day can really help to make things feel more normal. Try and get up at your usual time and keep as much of your usual routine as possible, including meal times and self-care activities. Don’t forget to build in rests and breaks. Eat regular meals, and eat well.

Stay active

While staying indoors you probably won’t move around as much as you normally would, so it’s a good idea to build some exercise into your day. A huge variety of guided exercise videos are available online for free, from gentle stretching all the way up to intense workouts. Even setting an alarm to get up, stretch and walk around a couple of times each hour will help.

If you have safe access to a private garden, getting some fresh air and walking around can boost your mood. If that’s not possible, try opening a window and watching sunrise, sunset, or the trees and birds outside.

Keep in touch

Make use of phone calls and the internet to keep in touch with friends and family. Having some contact with someone else every day, even if just for a few minutes, can help keep loneliness at bay.

Give yourself permission to limit or end conversations with people who are causing you to feel anxious. It can be useful to have phrases in mind to end conversations that are making you feel worse. This might be a statement such as ‘I’m finding that talking about this isn’t helpful for me at the moment, can we talk about something else?’

Avoid drugs including alcohol

Limiting use of substances which can affect your mood will help you to stay safe and keep feeling well throughout your self-isolation. If you need to talk to someone about this, the Wellbeing Service have a dedicated Senior Drugs & Alcohol Practitioner who you can speak to.

Limit your exposure to the news

It’s important to stay informed, but try not to let the news cycle become all-consuming while you’re in self-isolation. Make a plan for how much news you plan to read or watch, and at what times of day which will fit with your routine.

Recognise your strengths and achievements

Make sure you give yourself credit for managing this challenging time. Think about ways to safely celebrate the end of self-isolation and recognise your own resilience.

And if you need support…

If you find you’re struggling in terms of your wellbeing, a range of support options are available through UWE. The Wellbeing service can provide appointments by phone or video call – register with us to get started.

Please also have a look at our guide to self-isolating in accommodation and our University life in self-isolation page for advice and resources to keep you connected to university life.

Disclosing a mental health problem

Posted on

by the Wellbeing Service

For some people, the transition to university can be made more daunting by the thought of being surrounded by new people who don’t understand our difficulties.

Opening up

Telling people about your mental health is a personal choice and you should never feel like you have to. However, it can mean that new people around you better understand your experiences, needs and behaviours and can support you more effectively.

Telling people does not have to be ‘all or nothing’ – you can choose who you tell and what you tell them and you only need to share what is relevant. For example, you may want your flatmate to know you get really anxious around new people and ask that they let you know if they’re having people over.

If you choose to tell people about your mental health, be aware that this may be the first time they are hearing about these kind of difficulties. Letting them know where they can access accurate information is really helpful in their understanding. Mind have a great website with particular information for friends and family.

A helping hand

The University’s Wellbeing Service can support you to tell staff and friends about your difficulties if you feel it would be helpful for them to understand what you are experiencing. This could be on-going difficulties or a specific set of circumstances. This would be collaborative and is never done without your consent.

Dealing with diagnosis

If you have a formal diagnosis, our Disability Service can support you with telling relevant people in the university about your needs. They can work with you to prepare what’s called an Impact Statement which informs academic staff about your difficulties and how these affect your studies – for example letting lecturers know you may need to leave for breaks if you become too anxious. The service can also support you to arrange ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make your study experience as accessible as possible.

Access support

If you’re finding it difficult to disclose your mental health difficulties, remember that you can speak to someone at the Wellbeing Service for support. To arrange an appointment, contact us on 0117 32 86268 or email.

How to build emotional resilience

Posted on

Life is not without its challenges – but you can navigate through them. Here are our tips on how to build on your resilience.

  1. Build self-empowerment. Learn about yourself! What motivates you? What are your goals?
  2. Build your support network. We all need help sometimes, it’s important to know when and who to ask for help. You can also strengthen this network by supporting others when they need it.
  3. Learn from you past. We can’t be perfect, but make sure you learn from mistakes and use it to keep building on self-empowerment and support so you can be more resilient next time.

How to deal with an unhelpful emotional reaction

When we hear about a challenging situation, like an assignment being due, we can act on instinct and have an emotional reaction which isn’t always helpful. Here are a few examples of negative thoughts which might cause the unhelpful reaction:

  • “I did badly last time, so I’ll do badly again”
  • “I can’t do this”
  • “I’ve never done this before”

All these thoughts can lessen your resilience but are normal. The key to start dealing with these situations is to be C A L M.

Calm down

The key to start dealing with these situations is to be calm, as it will allow you to think more clearly. Here are some examples you might want to try to help calm down:

  • Let time pass
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness
  • Use an app such as SAM app or Calm
  • Exercise or go for a walk
  • Speak to friends or family
  • Write in a journal
  • Listen to music

Ask questions

Once you have calmed down and can think properly, question your reasons for the unhelpful reaction. Ask yourself:

What’s going on here? And why am I feeling like this?

Learn

Knowing why you reacted unhelpfully can help you to learn the cause(s) of the issue.

Manage

Work out how you might be able to improve your situation and lessen the impact of the negative thoughts.

  • What can you do yourself?
  • What might you need support with?

We have a range of self-help resources available online as well as one to one appointments for individual support with the Wellbeing Service. You can book these over the phone on 0117 32 86268 or by email.