Mental health and wellbeing

Brighton Palace Pier at sunset

These are stressful and challenging times for everyone and the University is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of all staff and students. If you feel you need support right now or are interested in building practices that will help to keep you steady further down the line, there is a wealth of resources at your fingertips.

Below you’ll find details of services offered for students by the University. Members of staff can access staff support services on sharepoint.

In addition, the Doctoral College is eager to crowdsource recommendations from our students. After all, there can be few people better placed to understand the specific needs of doctoral students right now than doctoral students themselves. We have a couple of recommendations from our students in this post below and, with your input, we’d like to build on this. So if you know of a resource you think might be helpful to your peers or have a personal tip, please drop details into the comments below. Thank you.

Looking after our health and wellbeing is paramount and at the Doctoral College we are doing our utmost to stay flexible and fair, and to support our students as best we can. Whether you are coping or struggling, please do stay in touch with your supervisor.


Interactive webinar, Wednesday 20 May, 14.00-16.00: Staying Well (while social distancing)

We are extremely pleased to announce a webinar from Hugh Kearns of ThinkWell who is an internationally renowned speaker on wellbeing. Hugh’s areas of expertise include self-management, positive psychology, work-life balance, learning and creativity.

This session will cover topics such as dealing with isolation, staying motivated, keeping focused and dealing with distractions. We very much hope you’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity to gain expert guidance to help you during these challenging times. Hugh’s workshops come highly recommended and we feel lucky to be able to offer this session at a time when the need for it is strong.

Please book your place on PhD Manager where you will find the join code for the session.


University resources for mental health and wellbeing

The university has a dedicated site for students offering information and resources for managing fears and anxiety around coronavirus. Please do visit this page to explore what available. Resources include:

The Big White Wall provides free, anonymous 24/7 online community support. Log in with your university details.

Student Support and Guidance Tutors (SSGTs) offer professional support to any students who are feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

In response to the pandemic, Student Services have produced two new guides:

How to avoid demotivation (PDF).

Dealing with bereavement and grief (PDF)

To support ongoing wellbeing and self-care, the university’s Sport Brighton are running daily online fitness classes of around 30 minutes length. These classes range from Pilates to high intensity work outs, with instructors running the sessions from their own homes. They are a great way to break up the working day and do something less cerebral – plus, it’s just really nice and affirming to have someone say to you ‘Great … well done … perfect’ for half an hour!

Brighton Students’ Union has created ‘Quarantea and Biscuits’, an online forum offering advice and community support for all students, including PGRs. It’s a proactive space to share positive news, practical wellbeing tips, home workouts, quizzes and store cupboard recipes, helping make everything seem a little more positive.

Wellbeing Thesis logoThe Doctoral College also recommends The Wellbeing Thesis. Developed by the University of Derby, King’s College London and Student Minds this free, online resource offers support for PGR wellbeing, learning and research.


Doctoral student recommendations

The resources below are recommended by one of our PhD students in the School of Media.

Tara Brach on Facing Pandemic Fears with an Awake Heart

Guidance on how to deal with fear and anxiety through mindfulness and calming the nervous system. Available as video or podcast, this post offers a short talk followed by a guided meditation.

NICABM on How to Work with Anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic (part 1) and (part 2)

A two-part video conversation with Christine Padesky, co-author of Mind over Mood, a manual widely used in cognitive therapy, and Ron Seigel, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

A guide to living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty

An explanation of and tools for managing anxiety. Click the link to access the guide (PDF).


Do you have any recommendations, suggestions and tips? Please add in the comments below so we can all pitch in and share how we are learning to navigate this strange, new world.

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