Coronavirus Welfare Advice

We know that this is an extremely challenging period for all students and ensuring that you have the necessary support during these unprecedented times is of paramount importance to us. That's why we've put together this hub so that you can quickly access vital resources and support should you need them.


Where can I get help?

Our Advice Centre can help with a range of welfare issues including mental health and financial advice. If we're not the right people to help you, we'll signpost you to the services and people who can.

Read more


University Support

All student advisory and wellbeing services are continuing to operate online. They provide general support and advice on wellbeing for all students. This can range from triage appointments with a Wellbeing Adviser who will listen to your concerns through to offering support with referrals to other internal or external services where needed.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 triage and therapy via Skype, Teams or email. Online workshops can also be offered to groups of students on topics such an anxiety.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 advice via Skype, Teams or email. Continuation of academic adviser support and specialist mentor support via Skype or Teams.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 advice via Skype, Teams or email. Assessments of applications for the Study Support Grant by email.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 advice via Skype, Teams, email or call 07388 846131 (9am - 5pm) to speak to one of the team.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 support via Skype or Teams.

What do they offer?

1-2-1 triage and support via Skype, Teams or email. Continuation of support for students who are already in contact with the team.

What do they offer?

The Chaplains are able to offer particular support to those feeling isolated. Please contact Revd Dr Orion Edgar (Anglican Chaplain), Fr John Dickson (Catholic Chaplain) or Nisar Shaikh (Muslim Chaplain) for further support. In absence of public worship, and the temporary closure of the Chapel, the Chaplains are also broadcasting their worship on the Chaplaincy Facebook page (also available to catch up after the live broadcast).


Worried about a friend?

If you’re worried about a friend but don't know how to approach the situation, Student Advisory & Wellbeing are here to help.

The University has a duty of care to all students and they'll get in touch with your friend anonymously to ensure they are offered appropriate support, guidance, or advice.

Email supportingyou@rhul.ac.uk.

Find out more


FAQs

Coronavirus is making me really anxious, what can I do to cope?

Everything about our lives has changed extremely rapidly, it’s entirely normal to feel anxious. In fact, the majority of us will have heightened symptoms of anxiety right now. You’re not alone in feeling anxious, and in response, a number of mental health charities have developed guides and suggestions to help you deal with the current situation.

Mind

Rethink

Anxiety UK

 I'm worried about my mental health, where can I go for help?

If you are struggling to cope and manage your mental health, there are a number of support services available to help you. We've compiled a list of them here.

Am I still able to get normal healthcare support?

Yes, most healthcare provision is continuing, though many providers have had to adjust the way they work. You can make a phone appointment with your GP or use econsult (check your GP surgery to see if they have signed up for this service) to speak to your doctor. When you need help fast but it's not an emergency, call 111 (though bear in mind they may be experiencing a higher number of calls at the moment). Only call 999 in a life-threatening situation.

You can use the NHS app to make appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and see your GP medical record (check your GP surgery to see if they have signed up for this service) which will save you time.

Pharmacies remain open with their usual services and you are able to get some medical advice from trained pharmacists.

Dentists are struggling to open at the moment due to limitations in the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), so you may not be able to get routine appointments. If you require emergency dental care, call your dental practice who may be able to arrange an emergency appointment. Find out more about dental care during the coronavirus lockdown here.

Opticians are also running limited services for emergency and essential treatment only. Check your local optician to find out more and see if you need essential treatment.

My mental wellbeing is negatively impacting on my work, What support is out there for me?

If you are finding that your work is being negatively impacted by your mental health right now, then you are still able to apply for extensions and extenuating circumstances. Speak to your department and DDS to see what other support is available to you. Read more about extensions and extenuating circumstances on the Academic Hub.

In addition, you can find support for mental wellbeing from a number of places that you can check out here.

I’m struggling with money, what help can I get?

There's quite a lot of information on this topic so we've put it all together on our Money & Finance page.

I’m really lonely right now, what can I do?

It’s completely understandable that feelings of loneliness are exacerbated right now. Some of us are fortunate in that we have safe and welcoming families/friends we live with, but many of us are not so fortunate. Even if you live with others, loneliness can be pervasive. You could be lonely whilst surrounded by other people.

Fortunately, clubs and societies are continuing to run events, such as regular quizzes or Zoom hangouts that you can get involved in. Follow your favourite groups on their social media pages to see what they’re doing. You can also join Royal hideaway, our Facebook group where you can share ideas, games, news stories, or just say hello to help to stay connected.

Of course, all these online activities are no substitute for in-person socialising, but right now, distancing ourselves from each other is helping to save our lives and the lives of everyone around us. You could join an online chatroom, or try playing your favourite game online - you could even meet new people that way!

There are lots of ways to stay connected, but even if you struggle with that, it’s okay! There’s no right or wrong way to connect with friends/family and you don’t have to be around people or talk to people all the time. Socialise at the rate with which you are comfortable and be considerate of other people’s boundaries too.

I’m struggling with alcohol and/or drug use during the lockdown, can you help?

Many people have turned to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with the struggles of lockdown. It is understandable that right now a lot of us want to escape from the realities that are hitting us at the moment, but relying on alcohol or drugs may cause more health problems and mental health issues in the long term. There are many support services available to help you manage your use - we've put together a list of them here.

My living circumstances are difficult or abusive, what should I do?

If you are in an abusive living situation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. moving back in with family) it is counted as essential travel in order to move away from the abuse. This may mean moving back into halls. If you no longer have a house around the university, contact Student Services to find a place in halls so that you don’t have to live with abusers. Alternatively, you could contact the following charities:

Albert Kennedy Trust

ManKind

Women's Aid

If you are in a housing situation that is uncomfortable but not abusive, then sadly you should continue to comply with current guidelines around travel. It is almost certain that most of us will be struggling more with our living situations right now, and this will negatively impact on relationships with those we live with, whether that is family or friends. There are still things that you can do to mitigate the impact of that on your mental health. Lee Fellows, Head of Student Wellbeing, has written some advice on living in a house share or back home during the lockdown. You can read this on the student intranet

What University support is still available?

All Student Advisory & Wellbeing services are continuing to operate online. You can see the full list and contact details here.

I’m worried about a friend, what can I do?

If you’re worried about a friend, it’s always a good idea to drop them a message. Try calling them and offering to set up a video chat. There are lots of platforms available at the moment - Facebook, Zoom and Skype are all free video chat software you could use.

If you’ve tried that but they’re not responding or opening up as you hoped, see if you can check in with another friend. Maybe someone else has noticed a change in behaviour from them, and it can be a more powerful message coming from multiple people. But, be careful that you don’t overshare with their other friend, they may not want everyone to know that they’ve been feeling a bit off.

If you’re not comfortable having this sort of conversation thenStudent Advisory & Wellbeing are able to get in touch with your friend. they can do this anonymously so that there is no repercussion on your relationship with them. Email supportingyou@rhul.ac.uk.

See more advice on starting a conversation about mental health with a friend here.