This year’s World Wellbeing Week (22 - 26 June) takes place under unique circumstances. With millions around the world in lockdown or facing financial challenges due to Covid-19, the impact on our physical and mental health cannot be understated. There has never been a more important time for us to consider our own wellbeing.
As an institution with over 15,000 students and 2,000 staff, plus with a role to play in influencing and supporting our local community and society, we wanted to take this opportunity to signpost the support available to everyone within our walls, and highlight some of the amazing work that our academics are doing within the field of wellbeing globally.
Mental health research at LSBU
Across our Research, Enterprise and Innovation (REI) department and academic schools, we have many active academics producing great work within the various aspects of wellbeing including humanitarian, social, emotional and environmental wellbeing.
Professor Michele Moore, Head of Centre for Social Justice and Global Responsibility, is a UN Consultant helping to develop a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in Azerbaijan. In the UK she is also involved in a large-scale mental health project looking at the usefulness of cognitive behaviour therapy.
In addition, Michele is also working to develop awareness of bullying and personal attacks on staff and students who have the courage to keep going with research others might find controversial. She is particularly concerned about the rise of mob tactics on social media which are detrimental to well-being, disrupting scholarship and academic life.
Hitendra Solanki, Senior Lecturer in MSc Development Studies, and qualified mindfulness trainer, has run several Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses at LSBU, and introductory sessions at Lambeth College. He also ran a specific MBSR course for PhD students and supervisors, to improve supervisory relationships, as well as increase wellbeing and self-awareness for research skills. This pilot was presented at the Vitae Conference, and the 1st Postgraduate Mental Health Conference in 2019, with follow-up workshops planned for 2020.
Also, as a long-time humanitarian aid worker, he recently launched the ‘Wellbeing Cluster’ in the Philippines, supporting the mental health of aid workers and the communities they serve. Plans to develop a UK based Wellbeing Cluster are also afoot. For supporting the mental health of LSBU group staff, aid workers, and health workers, during the COVID-19 lockdown, since March, Hitendra has also been running an initiative called ‘Being Inside’, providing pro-bono daily online mindfulness sessions, open to all.
Additionally, with Dr Andrew Whittaker, Associate Professor in the School of Health and Social Care, Hitendra will imminently be delivering a pioneering weeklong workshop on Mindful Self-Awareness & Decision-Making in Uncertainty, to a cohort of international security and logistics personnel from the humanitarian and development sectors.
Building wellbeing into our campus
Wellbeing is a big focus of ZONES, our multi-million-pound project to transform the learning environment at LSBU. Over the last 12 months, the Student Life Centre was renovated to include more breakout space and a dedicated gaming area for students to socialise together on campus. The neighbouring Learning Resource Centre, home to our Business School, also underwent a renovation in 2019. As part of this redevelopment, a dedicated wellbeing zone was created to allow students a space to relax.
In 2021, the London Road building development will be complete, seeing the creation of a modern student hub, home to a state-of-the-art gym and sports halls for a range of activities. More healthy catering options are also being installed in the hub for students, staff and visitors on our Southwark campus.
8 Top Tips on looking after yourself
Stay in touch with your friends, family and colleagues by phone or online.
Plan a daily routine to keep yourself busy.
Be kind to yourself and others.
Eat well and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
It’s important to keep physically active. Follow an online exercise routine, and if you are at home be sure to get up and walk around.
Keep your mind stimulated. Listen to the radio or a podcast, read or play games.
Make time for relaxation.
Make use of free mental health and wellbeing resources. All LSBU students get access to the SilverCloud platform, which offers support with managing stress and anxiety. We also have dedicated student and staff wellbeing teams who offer confidential support for those in need.
#teamLSBU, if you need support - we’ve got your back!