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Mental health awareness week

This week it’s Mental Health Awareness week, and the focus for 2018 is on stress.
Distance learning students often have a lot of plates spinning, studying around any combination of work commitments, family and caring responsibilities, disabilities and health conditions. In the Learner Support team at OCA we speak to students every day who have such a lot going on in their lives so stress management is important.
Some stress is healthy, but when stress becomes a way of life and goes unchecked, it can lead to, or exacerbate, mental health conditions, as well as increasing the risk of physical health conditions.
What can you try if stress is continuing to be a problem?
There are things you can try to look after yourself and keep your stress levels healthy. MHFA England has some ideas for what to try, and what to avoid, to help address your stress. What self care tips do you have?
I also like this weekly wellbeing check. I do something similar and my eating / sleeping habits are the first warning sign that I’m not looking after myself as well as I could be!
None of this is a replacement for seeing a GP if you can’t manage it yourself and it’s important to reach out if you need help.
How can OCA support you?
Course Support / Tutors
If aspects of your course itself are causing you additional stress, let our Course Support Advisers or your tutor know. Don’t let your difficulties with a specific exercise or project overtake you – they may have some suggestions to help you move it forwards in ways you hadn’t considered.
We’ve spoken to students who have lost months of their time and feel a great deal of stress and anxiety not knowing how to tackle a particular part of their course. Often one email or phone call to the office is enough to help.
Email coursesupport@oca.ac.uk to get in touch.
Learner Support Team
Whether it is making us aware of what’s happening in your life that is affecting your studies, or whether you’re in a position to study but need some help with a plan, we can often highlight options you hadn’t considered and help you work through them.
A lot of students we have worked with say they wish they’d been in touch sooner, as worries have often felt bigger the longer they’ve been left. The earlier you talk to us, the easier it can be for us to reassure you and put you back on track, or explain your options.
Email learnersupport@oca.ac.uk to get in touch.
OCA forum / peer support
If your studies are a source of stress, talking to your fellow students can help you realise that you’re not alone, and may give you ideas of how others have coped with similar concerns. Distance learning doesn’t have to be isolating.
Also, don’t forget to read our recent mini-series of blog posts on Study Tips as these have lots of useful suggestions from fellow students on how to work effectively on your courses, and what you could do if you’re finding things difficult.

Posted by author: Lia Harness
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