Your University Health Centre

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by Lucy, Patient Services Manager at the University Health Centre

Did you know we have our very own doctors’ surgery right in the heart of Frenchay Campus?

It’s open to all UWE Bristol students, no matter which campus you’re studying at. You can stay registered with us for your whole time at university, which means you won’t have to worry about finding another doctor as you move in your second and third year. Plus, as we work in partnership with The Old School Surgery in Fishponds, registering with us means you’ll be automatically registered with them too. Effectively you’re getting two doctors’ surgeries for one!

It’s easy to register online and registering now means that we’ll be able to get your records from your previous GP so that we’re ready to treat you if you need us. It also means you won’t have to worry about going through the registration process or finding a walk-in centre when you actually need to see a doctor – you can just book an appointment with us without all the extra hassle.

And don’t worry – you can still see your previous GP if you go home for the holidays. You’ll just need to see them as a temporary patient. It won’t affect your registration with us in Bristol and you can easily re-register with them if you move back home once you’ve finished your course.

So why register with us?

We’ve got a great team based at the Health Centre, made up of GPs, nurses and same day Urgent Care Practitioners. We also have Mental Health Nurses, who are available to assist you with any concerns or support you might need whilst you are studying at UWE. We’re a friendly bunch and you can talk to us about anything – trust us, we really have heard it all before!

We offer all of your standard GP services, including appointments, blood tests, travel vaccines, sexual health advice and free chlamydia screening kits. We can arrange your MenACWY vaccination, which protects you against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia, if you didn’t have it before you arrived – and we really recommend that you have it. We also work in partnership with the University’s Wellbeing Service, offering you support for your mental health such as counselling appointments. We’ll also refer you to other services in and around Bristol where required, to make sure you get all the medical help you need.

Remember that some common minor health concerns like coughs, colds, hayfever or an upset stomach don’t need to be seen by a doctor, unless they last for more than a week. Pop in to talk to your local pharmacist for advice – they’re experts who can recommend certain medications that you can take without a prescription. If the doctors’ surgery or pharmacy is closed, you can call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice.

If you’re an international student our healthcare system may be different to what you’re used to – don’t worry, we’re here to explain everything you need to know. Most services such as GP consultations and emergency treatment are free for everyone. You may need to pay for prescriptions, dental treatment and sight tests – although most students can get these at a reduced cost or free (just collect a HC1 application form from us or from the UWE Information Point). Doctors’ surgeries don’t provide eye tests or dental check ups – you can find an optician or a dentist through the NHS website.

Remember, we’re here to help you so that you can get on with your studies and fully enjoy your university experience – so register with us now!

Your October Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good team

What a welcome! We hope that you’re settling into university life here at UWE Bristol.

This month’s Feel Good Focus includes different recipes for you to try at home, more ways to get active, ways to relax and new things to try!

Eat well

Now we are fully into autumn, it seems to be that time of year where we fancy ‘cosy’ kind of meals. Especially foods packed with vitamins to help us now we will have less sunlight and to help build are immune systems. Here are a few of our favourite winter recipes!

Meat: Spiced Chicken, Spinach and Sweet Potato Stew

Vegetarian: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Vegan: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Get active

Even though the weather and cold can be off putting, it is important to try and stay active. UWE MOVE are kindly offering free MOVE passes for all UWE students normally costing £40 – how great is that!

The MOVE pass allows you to have access to a variety of weekly sessions such as meditation, badminton, touch rugby and more. It’s a great way to get active, clear your mind, improve your health and to make friends along the way.

You can view the timetable online or you can book through the Bristol Sport App. The sessions are flexible and all about having fun.

Relax

Starting a new course or a new year of studies can feel intense at times. Just remember to put some time aside each week for yourself. Your mental and physical health is the most important thing. You can watch that Netflix episode or you could check out what events The Students’ Union at UWE are running.

Tackling loneliness

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Loneliness is something that everyone feels at some point in their lives and each of our experiences are individual to us. To find out more about loneliness and what can cause and contribute to it, take a look at Mind’s website.

We’ve pulled together some information on how to build connections and meet others. We hope you find this useful and remember, you can always reach out for support if you need help.

To find out how to access any wellbeing support you need, visit our wellbeing support information.

Tips to help with loneliness

Watch this short video from Mind for tips to help you with loneliness. 

Connect with others at UWE Bristol

University events

Take part in UWE Bristol events. The University hosts a wide range of activities throughout the year, from Feel Good to workshops and socials.

MOVE

This year MOVE membership, usually £40, is FREE! There are over 40 activities to get involved in – from football and hiking to Zumba and yoga – and it’s a great way to get active and meet new people!

The Centre for Music

The Centre for Music is open for members. Join them for music software tutorials, music lessons or music masterclass events. It’s free to become a member and it’s a great way to learn new skills and meet new people.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to meet others, all whilst doing something great that makes you feel good. You can take part as little or as often as you like, and you’ll meet people whilst helping your community.

Connect with others through The Students’ Union

Events

The Students’ Union at UWE host a range of events to keep you connected to fellow students.

Societies

Get involved with The Students’ Union at UWE societies – it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests, learn new skills and most importantly, have fun!

The Discord networking platform

Join the Discord networking platform to meet and chat to other UWE Bristol Students online.

Hallslife

If you live on campus, HallsLife is here to help you feel at home at UWE Bristol. Throughout the year they organise events and competitions that you can get involved with. This is a great way to meet others living in halls accommodation.

Connect with others in the community

Meetup

Meetup is a great way to meet other people in your local area (events and group sessions are currently online). Browse groups by interest (like health and wellness, film, technology) or search for groups near you. Millions of people use Meetup and there should always be likeminded people nearby.

Time outdoors

Time outdoors provides a list of activity clubs in your local area, such as walking, running, climbing and cycling groups.

FriendMatch

FriendMatch works like a dating site, but matches people up with new friends rather than dates. Meet new friends near you, or connect with others around the world. There is a small fee of £4 per month to use the site.

Do It

Volunteering is another good way to meet other people. Search opportunities near you using Do It, the national database of volunteering.

Find support in the community

Befriending

Sign up for an informal weekly phone chat with Changes Bristol Befriending Service. Befrienders are trained volunteers who are happy to listen to you speak about how you’re feeling, what challenges you’re facing and how you’re coping.

Student Space

Student Space offer free, confidential, one-to-one support by text, webchat, phone and email. They’re there to help with whatever challenge your facing whether it’s loneliness, mental health, studies, money, relationships or isolation.

Mind’s online community

It’s a powerful thing to connect with someone else over shared experiences. Side by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard.


#SpeakUp

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We want to create an inclusive campus where diversity is celebrated, antisocial attitudes and behaviours are challenged and any type of harassment, assault and discrimination are not acceptable.

And we want you to #SpeakUp if you see or hear something that’s not right.

We want you to be an active bystander.

What does it mean to be an active bystander?

This means being able to recognise when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it and safely intervene. If you hear people make racist comments or see someone touch a part of yours or someone’s body without consent, call them out.

Be an individual who’s aware that someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening, and then actively challenges it.

How can you challenge inappropriate behaviour?

You should only intervene when it is safe to do so and the golden rule is your safety comes first. Here’s how you can challenge behaviour:

Direct: Let people know that their actions or language are unacceptable, explaining why it is not OK.

Distract: Indirectly intervene. For example, interrupt, start a conversation with the person to allow their potential target to move away or have friends intervene.

Delegate: If you spot a situation that worries you, find someone to help. This could be a more senior member of staff or someone in authority.

Delay: Wait for the situation to pass and check in with the individual. Take action at a later stage when you have had time to consider. It is never too late to act. One way of intervening is to report it through Report and Support.

Raising awareness online

Students have created some very short video-animations to prevent sexual harassment and relationship abuse within the university community. The aim is to raise awareness of areas such as consent, unwanted touching and groping, social media use and misuse, intimate partner abuse and humiliation ceremonies. Feel free to share them with friends and on social media.

Report anything you experience or observe that’s not right

You can report online any incidents that you’ve experienced or observed around bullying, anti-social behaviour, discrimination and hate incident, physical violence, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence abuse or health and wellbeing concerns.

How I settled into University life

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by Salma, BSc(Hons) Architecture

I’ll never forget my first trip to get groceries. I had just arrived in Bristol and as I was heading to Lidl, I may or may not have walked into random strangers’ backyards trying to get there. It was also my first-time using Google Maps and my, what an invention!

People who don’t see the need to use maps and rely solely on signs scare me.

Luckily as I got to know my flatmates, we started going grocery shopping together. Soon, what seemed like an hour-long walk felt like nothing. It started out with a simple text in our group chat that went something like, “I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow, would any of you like to join me?” It’s very normal for the first few weeks, or sometimes even the first couple of months to be awkward, but these little walks to Asda or Lidl really helped me get to know my housemates better.

Cooking with flatmates

In my first year at UWE I lived in Wallscourt with fellow international students and one thing I learnt from living with people from different cultures is that offering to try your food is the best way to make a friend. You also get to try theirs the next time, so it is a win. Living in a multicultural house also gave me the opportunity to celebrate things like Eid, Diwali, and Chinese new year’s. These were also opportunities to cook together, share a meal and educate one another about our cultures. It is a gradual process.

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps. One of my favourite recipes to make for my flatmates was these quick and easy cinnamon rolls .

Eating well

Before coming to university, the closest I got to ‘cooking’ was ramen noodles. But now I’ve learned some recipes from my flatmates, I’ve come to really enjoy cooking!

There’s something about having your own stuff, which has it’s own place in the kitchen that also makes cooking much more appealing. And when you’re in charge of your own food, it’s much easier to make healthier changes to your diet that you’ve always dreamt of. I switched to brown bread, gradually reduced my sugar intake and switched to plant-based milk cutting down my dairy intake. This did wonders for my skin and if my skin is happy, I’m happy!

Joining a society

During my first year, I joined the BAME society and the Built Environment society. I wanted to join societies that catered to both my social identity and my academic side. Joining these societies helped me get used to university life, as I met students from other years who’d had more experience and could give me advice. Although covid restrictions limited my interaction with other people, joining a society and meeting my course mates during the campus workshops, allowed me to make those all important connections and build my own community.

Mindfulness and meditation

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps.

Day to day though, I like to keep a routine and it’s important for me that I start my day by dedicating an hour or two to myself. I normally start by having toast with coffee/tea and then read a portion of a book and then watch some vlogs and cooking videos on YouTube. I also try to reserve 20 minutes before going to bed to meditate and I’m an avid believer of spiritual healing through prayer.

It’s important to remember that there will always be days when everything gets overwhelming and it’s not easy to stay focused no matter what you do. On such days, I just let myself feel the feelings and remember that it’s ok to have a good cry if needed.

For more advice on how to settle in and start your year well visit the Feel Good webpage!

Your September Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good Team

Whether you’re just starting your journey at UWE or returning for another year, September is an exciting time for everyone!

But don’t worry if you’re also feeling a little bit daunted, we’ve been busy planning a variety of activities to help you eat well, get active, relax and try something new, to start the year in a healthy, fun way!

What is Feel Good and Feel Good Fortnight?

The Feel Good programme is based on healthy behaviours for your wellbeing. Feel Good Fortnight takes place in September and promotes a healthy way to kick off your time at university. We want to help you to plan your meals and learn to cook new things, meet new people, find a new sport or hobby and to learn how to relax yourself when you come under stressful times.

Eat well

Eating well helps you stay energised and helps your physical and mental health. Ways on doing this would be to try a veggie or vegan meal and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Vegan meals can seem a bit daunting to make if you have never done so before. Why not try one of these 15 easy vegan recipes once you’ve moved in? Trying new meals could be something to do as a flat or with a group of friends.

Get active

By getting active, it’ll not only keep us physically healthy, but it helps to manage stress and boost our mood. Getting active outdoors has been proven to boost your mental health. Ways to get active at UWE can range from our UWE Move programme to trying a variety of different activities, or by trying out a range of easy walking routes around our campuses.

Our favourite places to walk include Stoke Park which has lovely views and isn’t too far Frenchay Campus. You can also take a walk to Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court Estate if you’re based at Glenside. And for students studying at Bower Ashton, you’ve got the beautiful Ashton Court right on your doorstep. In this video Fashion Textiles student Imogen, takes us on a tour of Ashton Court, one of her favourite stress-relieving locations in Bristol!

Relax

Moving to university can be a stressful time and it’s vital to ensure you relax to focus on your wellbeing. Make sure that when studying you have small breaks to help re-energise and try some mindfulness or meditation. The Calm app is a great way to try some mindfulness or create a Spotify playlist full of relaxing calm music.

When studying, the Flipd app is great as it sets a certain amount of time for you to study so you can have short breaks. You can also work in groups on the app so you and friends can study together and motivating quotes come up before you start a new session, which is a lovely touch!

Try something new

Trying something new can be challenging and exciting! It can improve your sense of wellbeing and perhaps help you find a new hobby. At UWE, we have a range of activities you can try. At the welcome events, if you see a sport club or society you’ve considered doing in the past, sign up and give it a go! You will connect with new people and develop skills.

And don’t forget to check out our friends at Centre for Sport or Centre for Music.

Feel Good giveaway

We’re also doing a giveaway on our social media platforms, so make sure you are following us on Instagram and Twitter!

This giveaway will be spread across the Feel Good Fortnight events, with prizes related to the Feel Good themes, so keep your eyes peeled for some exciting goodies!

Disclosing a mental health problem

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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

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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.