Be mindful of your mental health during world events

person looking anxiously at phone

Although you may wish to stay informed, it is important to be aware of your limits.

Distressing world news, such as the current invasion of Ukraine, can certainly affect our mental health.  It is absolutely natural to feel anxious and frightened, and to feel that events are out of our control. You may be feeling disturbed by the images you have seen on the news. You may be feeling worried about the safety of loved ones. If you have lived through similar events yourself, the current crisis may be bringing up some very traumatic memories. Staff in Student Support and Wellbeing are here to support you during these unsettling times. 

Try to be intentional in how you are consuming news, avoid long ‘scrolling through’ sessions

  • Take a break from watching the news – consider checking in at certain times of the day only. 
  • Mute or turn off news notifications on your phone  
  • Mute or unfollow social media accounts if you are feeling overwhelmed, or limit your news intake to once or twice a day 

Make time for people, activities and actions that are positive for your wellbeing

What helps will be different for each person, but here are a few ideas;

  • Connect with friends and family members.
  • Go for a walk in the fresh air.
  • Listen to a podcast.
  • Listen to some soothing or inspiring music.
  • Write out your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Grab a coffee with a friend.
  • Connecting with nature can be very soothing, there are some lovely walks on campus or along the river Stour.
  • Have you caught the bus to Whitstable yet, why not have a walk along the beach?
  • Try to have a regular sleep pattern.
  • Try to eat healthily which will help when you are feeling emotionally depleted.
  • Listen to some guided meditations as these can really help as a distraction from racing thoughts.

Focus as much as you can on hope

Amidst all the horrors of this war, there are also reports of wonderful acts of courage, bravery and compassion. Remember that such conflicts are relatively rare, and that the majority of people are committed to peace.

Positive News

It can seem like mainstream media is overwhelmed with bad news, but good news itself is not in short supply; the broadcasting of it is! Take a look at the Good News Network website, which seeks to be an antidote to the barrage of negativity we get from major news outlets. The Good News Network also has an app, and a weekly Good News Gurus podcast. A similar website, Positive News also has articles about what you can do to make a positive impact in the world today, such as How to help people in Ukraine and What can I do about climate change?

For inspirational videos from our Medway University Chaplain, check out Take Ten with Lynne on YouTube, covering topics such as kindness, how to be a people helper, and conflict resolution. For more Chaplaincy information and activity from faith groups in Canterbury and Medway, explore the Chaplaincy webpages.

Student Support and Wellbeing – professional support at university

Did you know that Kent has a professional support service of over 100 specialist staff? We’re here to support you with mental health, disabilities, and neurodiversity such as specific learning difficulties or autism, through 1:1 support as well as peer support groups and events. Here’s a video of top mental health tips from our mental health team.

Wellbeing Drop-in Sessions for students affected by the Ukrainian and Russian Conflict

The Student Support and Wellbeing Service are hosting Lunchtime Tea and Coffee Drop-In sessions every Monday at 1.00pm starting on the 7th of March 2022.  The sessions will be facilitated by two Mental Health Advisers. Please do come along to find a safe space to talk, discuss support or simply be together in those difficult times. The Group Room in I Block is located to the right of the pond outside Dolche Vita; the Mental Health Advisers will wait at the pond to greet you. Check out the Student Support and Wellbeing Calendar for more details and other support events, and follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for news on other events and peer support groups taking place throughout the year.

If you are a Medway student who would like to speak about how you’re feeling in these difficult times, please contact email to make an appointment with a mental health adviser, either remotely, or in person in the Gillingham building.

There will also be a Bake and Book Sale on Tuesday 15 March, 12.00-15.00, in the Colyer-Fergusson to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Emergency Support

If you feel you need urgent support from our team from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, please phone on 01227 826573 for the Canterbury campus or 01634 888474 for Medway or email or and ask for urgent mental health support.

Out of hours support

Feel like you really need to talk to someone but the Student Support offices are closed? Check out the Emergency Support page with details on online and telephone support available round the clock, such as our partners Spectrum Life, who you can call in the evenings and at weekends on 0800 0318227 pressing option 1; or Togetherall, the safe anonymous peer to peer online support forum free to Kent students.

Written by Rachel Levy and Natalia Crisanti, Student Services, on 01.03.22

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