Linacre has been taking part in Mental Health Awareness Week with Welfare Teas, Yoga in the Common Room, Wear it Green Day and more. We have taken the opportunity to catch up with our CR Welfare and Equality Officer, Ollie, to find out how his role impacts the mental health of members at Linacre.

What are the key aspects to your role as the Common Room Welfare Officer?

As CR Welfare and Equality Officer, I look out for the wellbeing of Linacre students. This is a broad role and ranges from organising welfare events (e.g. bi-weekly Welfare Teas) to one-on-one support for students going through a tough time, and also re-stocking welfare supplies in College such as tampons, condoms etc. I discuss College policy with senior management to ensure that it works for members and organise a Peer Support Scheme to train students in supporting each other. In a nutshell, if something is troubling you, or you think College can be doing more to improve your mental or physical health, please do come and chat with me.

The focus for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety; anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. What would you advise Linacre students do if they feel that their anxiety is escalating?

There are so many ways people can deal with anxiety, and I encourage you to find what works for you. Treating anxiety may come in the form of self-help tactics, talking to someone you know, or talking to a professional. Self-help tactics that some people use to relieve the stress associated with anxiety include breathing, exercise, journalling thoughts, and resting, but there are lots more to be found online. It might help to chat to a friend or someone at College like a Peer Supporter or a Junior Dean to help rationalise your thoughts. In some cases, a trained professional such as a counsellor at the University Counselling Service might be the most effective route to helping you cope through your anxiety. Keep monitoring how you feel, don’t ignore your anxious feelings and remember that you deserve to have good mental health.

What events have been held at Linacre this week to promote Mental Health Awareness?

This week, there are several events at Linacre to promote Mental Health Awareness. These have included a Welfare Tea on Sunday, a yoga session on Tuesday, “Wear It Green Day” on Thursday, and a film screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” which will take place on the Sunday at the end of the week (7.30pm in the CR). Also check out the interactive Mental Health Awareness display next to the College library – with a range of resources about mental health and anxiety and a green badge for MHA week. Take the chance to have a chat about mental health with someone this week – it’s central to everything we do.