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The theme of this year’s University Mental Health Day is ‘community’, and so we thought we would take the opportunity to write about how mental wellbeing is linked to community, and by doing things that are good for your mental wellbeing, you can improve and protect your mental health.

Mental wellbeing consists of feelings of confidence, contentment and enjoyment and is largely based on feeling as though you can do the things that you want to do. This is where community comes in. Good relationships and spending time with the people you care about and who you enjoy spending time with is a huge part of mental wellbeing.

It is important to remember that mental wellbeing does not mean that you never face emotions or events that you may find difficult, but mental wellbeing is about feeling as though you can carry on through these difficult times, and remain mentally well. An important distinction between ‘mental health’ and ‘mental wellbeing’ can be seen in that mental wellbeing is very much about what you do, whereas mental health is much more about our biology and chemicals within the brain. So, if mental wellbeing is about what you do, its really important that you actively work on it – the more you put in, the more you will get out.

Keeping well is very much about making time to do the things that you enjoy, even if times are tough. This is true even when you feel like your back is against the wall of deadlines, exams, part-time work, housemates, and budgeting.

Our top tips for looking after your mental wellbeing while at university:

  • Spend time with those you care about – do something you really enjoy, together
  • Get off campus for an afternoon!
  • Spend time looking after yourself – watch the film you’ve wanted to see for ages, go for a walk, do some mindfulness colouring, cook a nice meal with your housemates
  • Get out and find a new community – join a society or sports club, chat to someone new in your lecture or seminar
  • Get away from your screen for a while, whether it be your phone or laptop
  • Speak up if you are struggling, no matter how small you think the problem is!

By Carly Newman, No5 Lead Young Ambassador