Do also let us know if you have any feedback on these web pages (as we are constantly updating them).
The Occupational Health team can also help you with expert confidential advice and support.
If you are unsure which team to contact feel free to email either Colleague Wellbeing or Occupational Health as we work closely together and will ensure you receive the support you need.
What is Stress?
“The adverse reaction a person has to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them” - Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Stress is not the same for everybody. What is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. Stress can sometimes be good for us and we all need a certain amount of stress to keep us sharp and motivated. However, a person's ability to deal with stress and pressure is not limitless and while a reasonable level of stress may help you to become more alert and focused, excessive stress can have serious long-term effects on both health and work performance.
Support available for Stress:
- Spectrum Life is our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is a confidential, neutral service provided by an external company to support colleagues at the University.
Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment
- It can help to complete a Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment to identify and address causes of stress.
- Mindfulness sessions available at The University of Exeter
- What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a simple and powerful practice of training our attention. It involves learning to pay attention to what is happening in the ‘here and now’ (i.e. sensations, thoughts, and emotions) in a non-judgemental way. It can be helpful because it can interrupt the habit of getting lost in thoughts, mostly about the future or past, which often generates more stress on top of the real pressures of everyday life. Mindfulness offers not only a way of reducing stress and preventing low mood, it also holds potential to improve the way we live, helping us to thrive and be resilient at work and in our broader lives.
- If you are experiencing stress it can help to talk to your manager who can refer you to Occupational Health for support. Alternatively, you can make a self-referral direct to the Occupational Health Team.
'Supporting the mental wellbeing of your team’ – training in development
- We’re in the late stages of producing a training course for all line managers on supporting the mental wellbeing of those they support. This project was initiated by our academic colleague Prof. Barney Dunn, followed by contributions from Occupational Health and the Colleague Wellbeing team. After considerable consultation with and feedback from both academic and professional services colleagues, we have a substantial online resource which has received very positive feedback on how useful it is. It covers the case for looking after the mental health of colleagues, legal requirements, practical guidance on what to look out for and what to do, case studies on having discussions around this with those you line manage and whole teams, plus some consideration of how to develop a compassionate and inclusive leadership style. A follow-on practical workshop is also in the pipeline. A finished product is due to be trialled with colleagues in late autumn ’21 and, after evaluation, general roll out in the early part of 2022.
Training and Webinars
- The University’s suite of Bitesize Learning includes one hour courses on Mental Health Awareness During Remote Working and Personal Resilience During Remote Working.
- University of Exeter’s Mind Over Natter wellbeing videos include: How not to worry about worrying with Professor Ed Watkins and Minds, bodies, stress and washing machines with Jonny Wilkins from Talkworks.
Other University resources
- The Managing Mental Health and Stress Standard sets out processes for managing stress at the University and links to relevant resources and support.
- Taking good care of ourselves can really help us to stay mentally well. Take a look at the ‘Self Care and Staying Well’ section for resources and advice.
- NHS - Support for stress
- The Access to Work Mental Health Support - a confidential service delivered by Remploy funded by the Department of Works and Pensions is available at no charge to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work.
- NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)- an NHS support you can refer yourself directly to for talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, other therapies and guided self-help. Local IAPT services are listed below:
- NHS Talkworks (Devon)
- NHS Outlook South West (Cornwall)
- Steps2Wellbeing (Dorset)
- Plymouth Options (Plymouth)
- Somerset Partnership Talking Therapies (Somerset)
- VitaMinds (Bristol, N.Somerset, S.Gloucestershire)
- B&NES Talking Therapies (Bah & N.E. Somerset)
- If you live outside of these areas, you can find your local service using the NHS IAPT Search Tool.