Whether you’re in a period of self-isolation or local or national restrictions mean socialising isn’t possible, it’s important to look after yourself and this includes your mental health and wellbeing. We encourage you to seek support when you need to, connect with other people and look after yourself; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Health and wellbeing
It’s OK to not feel OK. Anyone can at some point experience feelings of stress, anxiety or loneliness. It’s quite normal and it’s okay to ask for support at these times.
Wellbeing teams at Oxford Brookes
Our Wellbeing teams offer support with your learning, emotional, physical and spiritual needs while at University.
TogetherAll is a digital support service to complement the support offered by the University’s Wellbeing teams. You can use TogetherAll to help you deal with everything from everyday stresses to major life events.
On TogetherAll you can join chat groups, get 1-1 support, express your feelings creatively and take courses on topics such as time management, assertiveness and problem-solving.
Togetherall does not provide an official diagnosis or medical services. It should be used as a support tool, to talk, support, share and learn strategies to cope.
The sunflower lanyard signals to all Oxford Brookes staff and students that you have a hidden medical condition or disability which means you are exempt from wearing a face covering.
Whilst wearing a sunflower lanyard you will not be asked to wear a face covering on campus. These lanyards are free of charge for Brookes students and staff. You can order a lanyard via the online shop and it will then be posted out to you.
- Managing your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak
- Relaxation exercises
- Students as carers
- Health and Life Sciences professional practice support during Covid-19
- Brookes Isolation Station on Facebook
- Brookes Union - mental health guide for Covid-19
- The Multifaith Chaplaincy - spiritual and pastoral care
- Positive mental wellbeing (video talk)
Making new friends is a big part of attending university. Despite restrictions on events and meeting up, there are still ways to connect with others.
Student Connect can help you make contact with another student who shares one of your interests.
Brookes Union societies
Joining a society can be a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends.
Have a look at the current societies, or you could even start your own.
Staying active is a great way to boost your wellbeing; both physically and mentally. It doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking are a great way to exercise and can have the added benefit of encouraging social interactions (don’t forget to social distance!).
Whilst Brookes Sport is closed due to pandemic restrictions you can still join a range of free online fitness classes via Zoom!
Research shows that those who help others are more likely to describe themselves as happy. Feeling part of a community, and working towards something bigger than your own goals, is an important way of building wellbeing.
For some people volunteering can be a direct route into their ideal career, for others it helps develop new or existing skills. Either way, it will add valuable experience to your CV and it’s a great way to meet new friends and feel a valued member of your local community.
The Oxford Brookes Volunteer Centre has details of organisations who are looking for help with projects here and abroad that you can do in person or virtually.
Read about the latest updates, support and activities from across the University.
Keep an eye out for Student News, the weekly email newsletter from the University with the latest information, support and activities.
You can also catch up on the latest news and activities on the Student News webpages.
Also keep an eye out for emails from Brookes Communications, which contain important information about your studies and life at university.
BXtra is an online platform created by students for students. It includes information on all that the University has to offer while you’re here, and showcases of students’ achievements.
Alongside content on the extra-curricula things you can get involved with, BXtra also features study-related content, and content on study skills and wellbeing, providing student-created support and resources.
Student Space (Student Minds)
Looking after your mental health while self-isolating (Young Minds)
Coronavirus and your wellbeing (Mind)
Mental wellbeing while staying at home (Every Mind Matters)
Mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (Gov.UK)
Supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (Gov.UK)
Walking, hiking and running trails in Oxford and Swindon
#Bakeclub on Instagram
For many students and staff the experience of the pandemic has created increased risks and some people may have new or worsening health conditions. We recognise that many disabilities and health conditions are not visible.
We know that many of our disabled students and staff have understandable and real concerns for their own safety and protection and therefore as a whole community we need to be highly conscious and responsible in how we protect ourselves and each other. It is still important to remember that Covid-19 is highly transmissible and we need to take extra care. We need to maintain a social distance of 2m, maintain good ventilation, as well as wearing face coverings (where possible) to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission to others.
The University signed up to the nationwide Sunflower Lanyard scheme with Hidden Disabilities last year. A sunflower lanyard can be used by those who have a hidden disability so university staff and students can identify those who may require extra help, understanding or patience, and in some cases exemption from face coverings.
We ask all students and staff to be mindful and respectful. Regardless of whether or not you wear a sunflower lanyard, it’s not ok to experience any kind of bullying or harassment. If you experience or witness any such behaviours, you can report it online at Report and Support.
What are the exemptions to wearing face coverings?
This is the Government guidance on exemptions and the University also has its own face coverings policy. This includes (but is not limited to):
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity.
- police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public.
What is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard?
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is designed to discreetly show that the wearer or someone with them has a hidden disability and may require some extra help, understanding, or patience.
View the What is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower? YouTube video to find out more.
Which hidden disabilities mean someone is eligible to wear a sunflower lanyard?
There is no qualifying list of disabilities for the scheme.
You do not have to wear a sunflower lanyard if you have a hidden disability, but wearing it means you are discreetly showing that you have an invisible disability, that you may need some assistance and in some cases that you are exempt from face coverings.
Can I use my sunflower lanyard to show that I am exempt from wearing a face covering?
Wearing a sunflower lanyard – should you choose to do so - helps show that you are exempt from wearing a face covering in a discreet way. While it is not mandatory to wear a sunflower lanyard for this purpose, it does indicate to University staff that you have a hidden disability and may require some extra help, understanding, or patience.
Where can I get a sunflower lanyard?
Students and staff can purchase a free sunflower lanyard from the student online shop. The University will not require staff or students to provide any personal information in order to purchase this lanyard. If someone is wearing a sunflower lanyard, we will respect this and we will not challenge the wearer.
Can I show my support for people with hidden disabilities by wearing a sunflower lanyard?
No. The sunflower lanyard should only be used by people with hidden disabilities so they can make themselves visible.
You can show your support by downloading a Hidden Disabilities logo and adding it to your email signature.