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Wellbeing support for doctoral researchers

Written by Dr Katryna Kalawsky

If you are experiencing difficulties at the moment (for whatever reason) please don’t face them alone. Help is never far away and there is absolutely no shame in reaching out to others for support and guidance – in fact, it shows courage. Sometimes we all need a little helping hand to manage the many challenges life can throw at us (no matter how big or small they seem) and an important first step is to find out what’s available to support. Also, if some services require you to make an appointment and talk to someone, please don’t let this put you off. I know it might seem daunting, particularly if you’re someone who finds it difficult to open up (you aren’t alone in this), but trust me people want to help, will help, and definitely won’t judge. Finally, never feel that your problems are trivial in comparison to others – if you’re troubled by absolutely anything, please share – you are important and so are your concerns.

During the Doctoral Wellbeing Week Twitter Chat held in March, I asked colleagues “What wellbeing support is available to doctoral researchers internal and external to Louhborough University and Loughborough University London?” and their answers are below.

“SO much! I’m envious of all the amazing ways we support our doctoral researchers in myriad ways. Both through our dedicated student support services and through the brilliant networks & events facilitated by the Doctoral College” – Dr Sophie Crouchman

“Lots! Beyond all the excellent professional services remember there are friends, other doctoral researchers, colleagues, supervisors, doctoral researcher tutors” – Dr John Harrison

“Lots! And we need to work hard to promote support and be creative in developing/improving support. And worth remembering support comes in many guises”  – Professor Elizabeth Peel

“There’s lots available through Student Services; Wellbeing Support, Careers Network, Student Advice and Support Service, disability support, counselling & mental health… take a look at here– Dr Manuel Alonso

“We have EXCELLENT Student Services Loughborough University such as Mental Health Support, Counselling, GP, Careers Network, Centre for Faith & Spirituality and MORE! There’s also Well-Being Advisers in our Schools – check out the my.Lboro app for more info!” – Dr Katryna Kalawsky

“LSU Advice; a confidential and non-judgemental service specifically to help students with any issues or problems they may have with the University.” – Dr Katryna Kalawsky

“Nightline is a national out-of-office hours, confidential and anonymous listening service providing support for students, by students via telephone and email”. – Dr Katryna Kalawsky

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In addition to the above, take a look at the ‘Doctoral Wellbeing’ section of the Doctoral College’s Online Development Portal; we’ve pulled together a wide range of fantastic resources that we hope are useful such as the Employee Assistance Programme, LU Wellbeing App, The Wellbeing Thesis, The Yellow Book and SO much more including recordings of some of the Doctoral Wellbeing Week workshops.

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Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice to our doctoral researchers on this topic via the blog comments box or via TwitterAfter all, one of the many aspects of ‘kindness’ (the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020) is about taking time out for others.

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