Counsellor’s Summer Blog 2022

Posted on 4th August 2022 by Amy Beck

Our School Counsellor, Lizzie Arthur, shares her thoughts on wellbeing and accessing support over the summer holidays and beyond.

An opportunity for me to check in with you, as we reach the end of another busy term. I want to wish you all a happy, safe break, and to those leaving us for study leave and new beginnings, a successful start to your next chapter.

At the end of a school year, I always encourage everybody to try to look after themselves over the weeks to come, whatever that may mean for them. The key thing is that ‘looking after yourself’ will be different for each of us. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. Figuring out what helps is a process, an ongoing thing that can grow and change. What helps today may not feel helpful next week, so it can be more about trial and error, as getting it right straight away, so it can be important to stick at it, to figure out where we each find meaning and happiness.

Loneliness, talking and connection

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was loneliness. To me, the term loneliness speaks of a feeling of disconnectedness. Talking things through in counselling sessions can be one way of re-connecting, of feeling less alone – but I’m bound to say that, aren’t I? So, I asked some of the students who have been accessing counselling recently, to put into words how they feel about it, and with their permission, here are some of their thoughts:

“Previously, the idea of school counselling seemed almost to be frightening, but since I’ve met Lizzie, my previous assumptions completely changed and I believe that I can express myself truthfully and in a completely anonymous way, all in a safe environment within school.”

“Counselling sessions allow me to have a calm and safe environment to talk about whatever is going on in my life without the fear of judgement. The sessions have been so helpful for me because they allow me to vocalise things that I am not able to talk about elsewhere and help me to feel seen and valid in my emotions.”

Online counselling

For free, online counselling, should you feel you need support during the Summer holiday, Kooth have two online counselling platforms – one for students, and one for young people. Kooth is a monitored, safe and anonymous service where you can log your mood, participate in group forum discussions, set goals and access online counselling with qualified professionals.

Staying connected to your own health and wellbeing at university

For those heading off to University or to an apprenticeship, gap year or job, the app ‘Student Health App’ is your one-stop-shop for advice and information relating to looking after yourself and staying safe. The free-to-download Student Health App enables universities and colleges to provide trusted health and wellbeing information in one single location.

What does the app cover?

The app offers reassuring information and advice on more than 125 topics relevant to students:

  • Mental health: How to tackle stress, depression and anxiety, and how to manage self-harm and suicidal thoughts
  • First aid & emergencies: Find out what to do next – from unconsciousness to asthma attacks, burns and head injury
  • Alcohol & drugs: Know the score on smoking, alcohol and common drugs – and how to manage a drug overdose
  • Love and relationships: Discover what’s to know about healthy relationships, abuse, contraception and STIs.
  • Healthy living: How to stay healthy and well at uni – and how to keep active
  • Safety: How to be safe on nights out, prevent accidents and avoid online dangers
  • NHS: How to navigate NHS Services effectively and choose services sensibly

Students can use the app offline, so the content is always available.

Finding help at University

The team at Young Minds have put together the following list of routes into finding help and support once you’re at your University. The services available will differ between universities, but here are some places you can look for support:

  • Your GP. If you’re struggling to cope, a good first step is to talk to your GP – make sure you’re registered with one at your uni. It can help to write down what you’ve been going through before your visit.
  • University counselling. Most universities have counselling services, which will give you the chance to talk through your experiences in a non-judgemental space. Find out more on your uni’s website.
  • Tutors and student welfare officers. There may be a tutor assigned to give you pastoral support, or a student welfare officer you can talk to.
  • Your Dean of Students office – there to deal with all things relating to student services and welfare.
  • Student Minds run support groups, especially focusing on depression and eating disorders, which are led by other students. Find out if they have groups at your university:

And finally – for those who are getting exam results, good luck.

“When the next stage begins, have fun, get excited, be open to the opportunities, connect with your new life, embrace the changes and look ahead. You’ve worked for this. We’re so proud of you.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.”

Lizzie Arthur, School Counsellor