UAL is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week from 18-24 May. This year’s theme is kindness. Rotimi Akinsete, Associate Dean of Students (Wellbeing & Inclusion), talks to us about what this means to the University.
Most of us have started a summer term that nobody could have possibly imagined. UAL students are balancing a brand-new way of studying and learning with an external environment that has changed beyond recognition. This is particularly challenging for everyone academically, but also personally, where many of our routines and support networks have disappeared and many of us are feeling unprecedented physical isolation.
A show of kindness
Since the summer term, I have been nothing but impressed, though not surprised, by the kindness between students and staff, and by the ways in which everyone has adapted to the new situation so quickly and creatively. While challenging, this period will bring new opportunities, and there will be learnings that will have longer term impacts for both students and staff, from the way we learn and teach, to the way we collaborate with each other.
UAL has come together in kindness to support each other. Outside the virtual classroom too, we continue to support others through our creative work, for example by making facemasks for hospital workers and many other projects.
Staff at our colleges are doing everything they can to provide students with a stimulating and inspiring final term, but most importantly through some of the support networks and services that may help students through this period of uncertainty.
Students who are concerned about their own or someone else’s mental health can continue to contact UAL’s counselling service, and we continue to provide a range of ways to support our students’ wellbeing, whether it’s physical or mental wellbeing, disability, dyslexia, money, immigration and more. Our new wellbeing hub brings together some of these resources in one easily accessible place.
Arts SU also continues to provide advice on a range of issues through its confidential Advice Service, which supports students during their time at UAL. Arts SU’s new companion scheme connects compatible students to support each other and helps them collaborate.
As a university and as a community, UAL will continue to support its students and staff in any way possible, providing activities and resources to keep you safe, healthy and connected with others during this challenging time.