The Wellbeing Thesis
Wellbeing Contacts

PGR Health and Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing

Introduction from Cathryn Baker- PGR Education Welfare Advisor 

"My role is just one of the places that you can go to access support,  the purpose of my role is, to provide guidance, advice and signposting on a wide range of issues relating to your welfare, health, personal problems, support for study plans and options for academic progression.

I work as part of the wider Wellbeing Services team, supporting the whole PGR Community including, Streatham, Penryn and St Lukes.  In ‘normal times’ I am based on the Streatham campus three days a week (Monday, Thursday & Friday), St Lukes one day per week (Tuesday) and Penryn one day per week (Wednesday).  At the moment, meetings are being carried out via Teams, or telephone. Whilst am able to offer limited face to face meetings due to room bookings this can take longer to arrange.

All contact with me is confidential, and is not recorded on your student record. We would agree between us if I needed to contact another colleague, or member of academic staff, such as your supervisor/pastoral tutor.

I work closely with the Doctoral College, particularly the PGR Support Team, and the practitioners in the Wellbeing and AccessAbility Teams to ensure that we can fully support all students."

How to Refer

You can self-refer to arrange a meeting, or ask any queries by email. My email address is: welfare.PGR@exeter.ac.uk

Your supervisory team can also refer to me, asking that I get in touch with you to discuss possible support, or the PGR Support team will refer to me, again asking me to get in touch with you to arrange a convenient time to meet and check that everything is ok, or if you would benefit from accessing support.

Meetings with me can be a one off, or we can arrange further meetings if appropriate and useful.  My aim is always to try and offer the support that you need, and access the services that will be of benefit to you.

Your supervisory team, are often your first point of contact with regards to anything associated with your Research Degree. They may also be the team you wish to speak to if you are struggling. 

If you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisory team, please also remember you have a pastoral tutor who you can discuss no academic matters with. 

All students are allocated a pastoral tutor who you can approach and arrange a meeting.  Meetings are confidential, and supervisors cannot see any notes if written on MyPGR. Pastoral tutors are a good source of help, particularly regarding issues surrounding supervisor relationships or writing motivation, they may often signpost you to other sources of support. The name of your pastoral tutor can be found on your MyPGR record, if you are unsure who it is.

Our Researcher Development Programme (RDP) is designed to support you at all stages of your research degree. The programme is organised into five strands: Researcher Development Essentials, Career Development Essentials, Data, Sharing Your Research and Writing. We recognise the importance of supporting your wellbeing to being a successful researcher, and as such run a number of wellbeing sessions as part of the Researcher Development Essentials strand of the programme.

In collaboration with colleagues in wellbeing, we have developed a number of sessions that deal explicitly with wellbeing issues in research. These are:

  • Working from home – acknowledging the wellbeing and productivity challenges of working from home, and introducing you to strategies that can help
  • Maintaining momentum and focus after your upgrade – dealing with the ‘post-upgrade slump’ and supporting your to maintain momentum and enthusiasm for your research
  • Being a mindful researcher – embedding mindfulness and cognitive empathy in to your research practice, and relationships with yourself and others
  • Encountering imposter syndrome – exploring the common and ‘public feeling’ of being a fraud and not belonging in academia

Our colleagues in the wellbeing team also run practitioner-led sessions exclusively for PGRs:

  • Managing stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Confidence and resilience

The Writing strand of the programme also support research wellbeing, with our writing groups providing a regular forum to connect and work with other PGRs – whether than is face-to-face or online – reducing isolation and building community.

Spectrum.Life is a employee assistance programme which is also open to PGRs. They provide confidential telephone, video and live chat counselling service to help with things like stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, bereavement and more. It is easy to access through the online portal, is flexible and provides you with choice and clinically approved resources to help you to manage your health and wellbeing at work and at home. 

This is a confidential service and information about who has used it, will not be fed back to the University. 

SilverCloud offers secure, immediate access to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programmes, tailored to your specific needs. The programme has shown high improvement rates for depression, anxiety and stress and also has a programme on body image. CBT helps you identify and change those thought and behavioural patterns that have a negative influence on how you are feeling, helping you to make changes for the better.

Together all provides a safe, anonymous online support where you can share experiences anonymously with your peers experiencing similar difficulties. You can also access professional support with trained healthcare professional as well as wellbeing courses and tools to help self-manage your wellbeing. A user guide can be found below.

Together all user guide

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Self Assessment

The DSE self-assessment is a checklist for staff and students to use to ensure that workstations are set up to the best of their ability, to reduce the risk of pain and ill health that can be associated with the use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE). Everyone is required to carry out a DSE self-assessment to ascertain whether assistance is required.

Full details on how to complete a self-assessment form can be found on the Health and Safety Website.

Eye Care Voucher

All PGRs have access to a free eye care voucher (every two years), which allows you to get a free eye test with Specsavers. To get a the voucher, you need to complete a DSE self assessment form (see above)- at the bottom of this form there is a direct link to Specsavers where you can request a voucher.  

Full details on the free eye care voucher is available on the Health and Safety Website.

Support available to those in Exeter (Streatham and St Lukes campus)

As well as the support listed above, there is also a variety of wellbeing support for those on both the Streatham and St Lukes' campus.

The team offers a wide range of support including, counselling, CBT therapy, workshops and one off duty appointments.  There are also different pathways available depending on your needs, these include the mental health pathway and Psychological Therapies pathway. You can find out more about each pathway on the Wellbeing web pages.  The teams are offering most of the services online or by telephone but you can request a face to face meeting if that is best for you.

You can self-refer, or I can help you access the support available. Initially you will have to participate in a telephone referral appointment for the team to identify what support they may be able to offer.  In addition to 1-2-1 support there is a wide range of self help resources which can be found on the Wellbeing web pages which I encourage you to look at, there will also be a range of workshops coming online soon.

Wellbeing Services Exeter

‌Wellbeing Services: Your Education Welfare Team

If you have a question for the Education Welfare Team, you can now use our instant chat service. The chat is live from 12.30pm – 2.00pm every weekday, and we can help you with any questions you may have about managing your health alongside your studies. To access the chat, go to our web page at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/studentwelfare.

Part of the wider Wellbeing team, the AccessAbility team is here to support students with a disability, or long-term health condition including specific learning difficulties and Autism spectrum conditions. 

The team will also help with applying for Disabled Students Allowance, ILP’s etc. You can book an appointment by telephoning or emailing the team. More details of the support that they offer can be found on the AccessAbility web pages.

For PGR specific information about AccessAbility support please see the PGR Wellbeing Webpage.

There is a multi-faith chaplaincy team at the University from a wide variety of faith backgrounds. The team provide a safe space to talk and offer discreet and confidential listening service. They also provide many faith activities.

Chapliancy Website

Chapliancy Facebook Page

Chapliancy email address: chaplaincy@exeter.ac.uk

The Students Advice Unit offer free, independent and confidential advice service for University of Exeter students. Our trained advisers specialise in University processes – supporting students to understand how the University works and to exercise their rights within this environment. Our advisers are accredited by the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA), or they are working towards that accreditation. We are also members of Advice UK, the largest independent network of advice services within the UK.

HOW WE HELP STUDENTS

They are happy to support students on any matter where they require advice. This can be by providing information and advice, and sometimes detailed casework support. On other occasions, the advice unit helps students to access specialist services or information relevant to their circumstances. 

Our key areas of expertise include:

  • Academic matters such as appeals, academic misconduct processes, disciplinary processes; other University of Exeter regulatory processes; and other situations where students may be in conflict with the University;
  • Complaints processes and alternative dispute resolution on any matter relating to students’ experience at the University of Exeter;
  • Housing and accommodation matters such as tenancy deposit schemes, disputes with landlords or lettings agents, and homelessness;
  • Finance matters including tuition fees, Student Finance eligibility, University bursaries and scholarships, and support for students in financial hardship;
  • Welfare support, helping students to access the information and services they need to stay safe and manage their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Areas where the advice unit are unable to provide advice and will signpost students include:

  • Complaints about the Students' Guild;
  • Counselling support and other wellbeing support which is best provided by qualified practitioners;
  • Immigration advice and support;
  • Legal matters or requests for legal advice

Students wishing to access the advice unit service can email advice@exeterguild.com. The advice unit aims to respond to all emails within five working days and, wherever possible, will respond more quickly than this. Many students will receive their advice by email; however they can also offer telephone and video calls where this would be helpful to students.

Support available to those in Cornwall (Penryn and Truro)

As well as the support listed above, there is also a variety of wellbeing support for those on both the Penryn and Truro campus.

The FXPlus Student Support team can support, advise and point you in the right direction with all sorts of issues such as general student life, academic issues, living in the community, personal relationships, general worries, as well as psychological or emotional concerns and mental health difficulties. Full details of the services available can be found on their website.

To get in touch, please email studentservices@fxplus.ac.uk or call us on 01326 370460.

If your concerns need more immediate attention, go to: Need Help Now.

The Accessibility Team advises and support students with disabilities, health conditions and specific learning differences. The team are able to give advice on applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), which can provide you with funding to overcome practical barriers to learning. Examples could include Support Workers, Study Skills Tutors, specialist equipment or software. The Accessibility Advisers can work with you in a confidential environment to discuss your needs.

To arrange an appointment, contact us at accessibility@fxplus.ac.uk.

The chaplaincy team provides pastoral and spiritual care for students and staff of all faiths and none. We know that life is full of beginnings and endings, sad times and happy times, joys and challenges and that sometimes we need company and conversation. Naturally, we are always happy to talk about religion, faith and spirituality but in the context of pastoral care we would only do that at your request.

For further information, you can send an email to chaplaincy@fxplus.ac.uk or call 01326 370744.

The SU provides a variety of free, confidential, impartial advice and guidance to all University of Exeter Cornwall Campus students. The advice encompasses a range of legal and University-related issues including:

  • Welfare- including academic issues, budgeting advice, hardship funds, alcohol, drugs, sexual health, mental health and more
  • Mental Health- including information on how to look after your mental health.
  • Money matters- including grant/loan entitlement, bursaries, hardship funds, emergency loans, budgeting and more
  • Financial Hardship- this is one of the biggest difficulties facing students. Here you can find information on bursaries, national funding pots and small things that can make a big difference.
  • Academic issues- including academic appeals, complaints, disciplinary issues, fitness to study, extenuating circumstances and more
  • Housing issues- including information about your rights and responsibilities as tenants
  • Employment- including information about income tax and national insurance
  • Consumer rights- including help if you're treated unfairly or when things go wrong when buying goods and services, including enrolling with your university.
  • Disability- including information on how to navigate university whilst also navigating disability can present unique challenges. We have many different supports in place to help you, if needed.

Email the Advice Service with your enquiry or to request an appointment: advice@thesu.org.uk

Online Apps

There are a variety of online apps, which we think might be of use to you:

Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus and Sleep Better

Calm is the #1 app for mindfulness and meditation to bring more clarity, joy and peace to your daily life. Enjoy a calmer mind with guided meditations and experience more restful sleep with Sleep Stories. Calm is the perfect meditation app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced meditators and gurus. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule.

Headspace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness

Headspace is meditation made simple. People have been meditating for thousands of years. But while the practice is not new, science is just starting to fully understand its benefits. Recent studies show meditation and mindfulness can help improve your focus, exercise mindful awareness, relieve anxiety and reduce stress. The guided meditations in Headspace are suitable for all levels of experience.

SilverCloud- SilverCloud offers secure, immediate access to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programmes, tailored to your specific needs. The programme has shown high improvement rates for depression, anxiety and stress and also has a programme on body image. CBT helps you identify and change those thought and behavioural patterns that have a negative influence on how you are feeling, helping you to make changes for the better.