Being a student comes with two main time constraints: studying and having a life. Neither one will slow down while you take care of the other. So, what can a Brookes student do when they need help or advice? .
The importance of support programs at our universities goes without saying. Living away from home means that emotional support from our families is not as readily available as we might like it to be. Not to mention international students whose families are a long flight away. In such an environment, resources for mental health need to be made not only accessible but available.
All of us will want to make the most out of our time as students. We strive to create fun memories with our new friends in an unparallelled working and living environment, and we do this all on our own. While most of the time things may be on the up and up, what can a Brookes student do to get help or advice in situations when they’re down?
The first point of contact are our dedicated student support coordinators. These are trained professionals based within each subject area. They are there to provide advice and guidance on personal issues as well as academic ones. This can include anything from GP registration and dentist help, to special and financial aid. At Brookes, this is a good place to start looking for help.
If this service is unavailable or does not meet your needs, Oxford Brookes also offers Inclusive Support Services. These may include specialist help with assistive technology, or issues with Disabled Student Allowance, as well as mentoring and study skills support. Brookes also provides help for liaising with academic staff about any special or reasonable adjustments. Finding the right person to ask can be quite challenging at times, especially when you don’t know where to look. In times like these, the support available is incredibly useful.
If a student contends with a more complex mental health issue and requires long term care or immediate intervention, a range of student counselling services are available. These offer a wide range of support for emotional wellbeing. This can come in the form of one to one sessions, or group discussions and workshops on a range of problems. Brookes ensures that these services are always available free of charge, and promises confidential interactions. The sessions are available both online and in person and are incredibly easy to access. For a self referral, a student is required to submit a form online via the portal, and the team typically replies within 48 hours. The counselling service quickly initiates communications to ensure the student is safe and to better understand the problems. After an initial assessment an intervention plan can be offered which then the student can accept. The professional staff who are part of the counselling team are fully licensed and governed by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Oxford Brookes University is huge on inclusivity. They understand that while students may be experiencing similar problems, the solutions to these problems won’t always be the same. This is why Brookes offers a Multifaith Chaplaincy. This is made up of Chaplains and faith advisers from all different beliefs and faiths. These are available to everyone for free as a form of additional support. The team here can provide pastoral care for believers and atheists. There are sites around campus dedicated uniquely to prayer, contemplation and quiet time. Along with this, there are regular events students can attend. This is an opportunity to meet other students in similar situations and engage in group discussion. This is also an opportunity to learn new things, and new ways of dealing with problems. Relaxation and meditation classes and workshops are available as part of the student support services.
While studying it is therefore important to know that such services exist and are always available. As students there are many things that can cause anxiety or stress. These often include relationships or money. Fortunately, as a Brookes student, there is plenty of help available ranging from counselling to special bursaries offered for all kinds of situations.
It is vital to recognise when to ask for help, and to know where to ask for it. Sharing a problem can often lighten the load of the problem. That’s part of the learning experience.