Wellbeing

 

Wellbeing

If your studies are being impacted by your mental or physical health, there is support for you.

Many moons ago, our friends in the Registry conducted a survey and found that in the first term 26% of first year students were worried about their health, with approximately half saying they were feeling tired, run down and stressed out! With so many other things to think about it is all too easy to neglect your health during the first year. Sparing a little time and TLC for your brain and body will pay dividends in the long run.

It is a good idea to get organised and register with a local GP and dentist as soon as you arrive in Tooting. Its best not to leave it until you get ill because you won’t be wanting to deal with all the paperwork when you're feeling under the weather. In the worst case scenario you could find yourself needing to call a doctor in the middle of the night in an emergency and suddenly realising you have nobody to call.

To register, it helps to take the address of your doctor at home and your medical card, but you can sign up without these.

 

 

Click on the links below for more information:

Going To A&E?

There are many rumours that fly around George's regarding what happens if you go to A&E. Whether the reason for attending is related to alcohol or not, the following apply:

  1. If you are a patient, your attendance will be confidential.  No one will tell the university anything, even if you happen to be intoxicated.

  2. You will be treated the same as any other patient; neither better (including being treated quicker) nor worse just because you are a George's student.

The Students' Union and the A&E department have agreed and produced a document to outline the above points in more detail. Please click here for the Students in Emergency Department protocol.

Registering with a GP and Dentist

It’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible! You don’t know when you might need an urgent appointment, and having all this in place before you do makes everything much easier.

When registering, you will need to bring a proof of address with you (which you may be able to obtain from the Student Life Centre).

Prescription Charges:

Sadly, as a student over 19 years of age, you are no longer entitled to automatic free prescriptions, sight tests, dental checks etc. However the NHS low income scheme may be able to help if your annual income is £8,000 or less. To find out whether this scheme can help you pick up an HC1 form from the SU office, your doctor, dentist or optician. The information you supply will then be assessed and if you are eligible you will receive either an HC2 certificate for full help or an HC3 certificate for partial help.

If you have already paid for something you may be able to claim a refund using the refund claim form HC5.

Opticians:

Again, don’t neglect your eyes (they are quite useful, after all), get them checked if you have any concerns about your eyesight. You can get free eye tests and vouchers for lenses with an HC1 form if you have a low income.

Staff/Student Occupational Health Service:

The Occupational Health Service has 2 locations:

  • Occupational Health 1: Next to the Rob Lowe
  • Occupational Health 2: Opposite Knightsbridge Wing

 

The service is available by appointment from 8.30am - 2.30pm Monday to Friday, or 2.30pm - 5pm for emergencies only. You can call them on 020 8725 1661.

Occupational health deal with health issues you may encounter while studying or undertaking clinical work. If you have a medical problem that might affect your studies then Occupational Health may be able to help, by making sure you get the best treatment and by notifying Registry and writing letters explaining your situation.

Staff from the Occupational Health Service also give students occupational health checks on registration. They can also arrange for you to have any immunisations you need, for example Hepatitis B or Tuberculosis, and can provide you with certificates confirming that you’ve been vaccinated.

Remember to keep these certificates safe as many hospitals may ask for proof of immunity before you’re allowed to undertake clinical study and you may be charged for a replacement.

Please note that if you need vaccinations before traveling abroad you will have to arrange for these to be done at your GP as the Occupational Health Service aren't able to provide this service.

 

Alcohol

Let’s be honest, university, for many, is the ideal place to let your hair down and consume more alcohol than you normally would. For many who enjoy a couple of drinks on a night out, it's just that, an enjoyable experience; social drinks with friends in bars and clubs can be lots of fun. But with all good things come their limitations and for some, drinking to excess leads to disorientation, lowered inhibitions, awful hangovers and, in extreme cases, dependence.

Do I have a problem?

This is a question only you can answer. However, if you are at all worried, there are ways you can address your concern. You can speak to the SU's Welfare team or the University's counsellors, but if you prefer to speak to someone anonymously, try calling Alcoholics Anonymous (24 hour helpline - 0845 769 7555).

Drugs

Illegal drugs are illegal! The use of illicit substances is strictly forbidden on university and Students' Union premises. This can jeopardise the bar, Students’ Union, and all things that you will hold close to your hearts over your time at Georges. Use of illegal drugs on university and SU premises will lead to the possible expulsion from your course and a life-time ban from the SU facilities as well as possible involvement of the authorities.

The university regards the use or dealing of drugs as a reason for expulsion from your course. Having said this, they are willing to advise and support any student who seeks help for their substance abuse. If you ever find yourself needing help, do not hesitate to seek it - the SU's welfare team, counsellors and occupational health can help you to find a way to resolve your problems.

Often considered a ‘safe’ drug in the past, the dangers of cannabis are becoming clearer over time, and it has been shown that there is a significant link with its use and the onset of psychosis. If you or someone you know uses cannabis, keep an eye out and be careful!

The Students’ Union does not want to patronise you by telling you everything you (hopefully) already know about the dangers of drug taking etc. Make your own choices. Never allow yourself to be pressured into anything and if you do choose to use, make sure you know the score.

Alternatively for friendly, confidential advice you can talk to FRANK .

If you do smoke, we ask that you be considerate of those who don’t. As we share our site with an NHS Trust, smoking is not permitted anywhere on site at any time.

The Student Union Exec are very concerned about the safety implications for our smoking students should they be forced to leave the entire site, especially at night, to go for a cigarette. We recommend that should you need to leave the building to smoke during unsociable hours, you do not go alone.

For advice on quitting contact the NHS Smoking Helpline on 080 0169 0169, or visit NHS Smokefree.

Depression

Depression can affect anyone at any age. 1 in 10 people suffer from depression each year, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing it first-hand at some point in our lifetime. It is an illness in which there is persistent low mood or ‘numbness’, which interferes with everyday life, causing a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Everyone’s experience of depression is different, as no one has the same life experiences or personal problems.

In the most severe cases depression can lead to suicide, with 4,000 people each year taking their own lives as a result of this condition. However it can be treated successfully and there are many sources of help available.

Treatment may include:

  • Counselling or psychotherapy is most effective in minor to moderate depression.
  • Exercise and relaxation techniques (see stress/anxiety section)
  • Self-help - wanting to get better and taking positive steps to do so such as reading books about depression or joining a self-help group is more likely to result in success.
  • Anti-depressant medications are not addictive and can be taken safely over periods of time. They may be prescribed by your GP.

Where to go next...

You need not be alone - talk to people! If you do not feel that speaking to your friends is helpful, make an appointment with the counsellors, your personal tutor or the Vice President (Education & Welfare).

SGUL is affiliated with Nightline, a confidential telephone/ e-mail listening service: 0207 631 0101 and www.nightline.org.uk.

Everybody has different levels of experience and knowledge in all aspects of life, and sex is no exception. Some people come to university having never been exposed to any encounters of this sort; however, others may be the opposite. Whatever your background or experience, the most important thing to consider is to always be aware of your own welfare and never to feel pressured into doing something you do not want to do. The information in this section is intended to help inform you of the various ways of protecting yourself.

 

 

Students can access FREE condoms from the SU office. Just come in and ask to see the VP Education & Welfare!

You can order a FREE STI self-test kit here. The kit comes in a discreet package, and if you’d like, you can order it to the SU Office to collect.

For more information about sexual health and contraception, you can find your nearest sexual health clinic here.

For more confidential information and advice, please visit www.brook.org.uk or SHSWL.

Click on the tabs below for more details:

STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection and these are the part of sex that is least talked about.

A large proportion of people with STIs do not experience any symptoms - the only way to know for sure is to get tested!

Find out more information about what to look for on the NHS site here.

If you don’t have any symptoms, you can order a FREE STI self-test kit here. The kit comes in a discreet package, and if you’d like, you can order it to the SU Office to collect.

Alternatively, you can visit one of the local Sexual Health Clinics - find out more .

Find out more information about what to look for on the NHS site here.

FREE Condoms:

Students can access FREE condoms from the SU office. Just come in and ask to see the VP Education & Welfare! Other places to get them from include:

  • Collect them from a Sexual Health Clinic / some GP surgeries
  • Order them to your house via the Get It! Condom Scheme
    • Get it! is a new condom scheme for young people who live, study, work or socialise in the borough of Wandsworth. If you are aged between 16 and 24, you can order free condom packs online that get sent straight to your door. You can register in the SU, just swing by the VP Education and Welfare’s office or register here online.

Emergency contraception:

In the case where unprotected sex has taken place, emergency contraception is available. This includes:

  • Copper Coil
  • ‘Morning after pill’ - there are two different types available

It is important to note that the sooner after sex they are taken, the more effective they are.

You can get Emergency Contraception and advice for free from NHS Walk-In Clinics and Sexual Health Clinics. You can buy the ‘morning after pill’ over the counter at a Pharmacy (such as Boots on Tooting High Street).

Contraception:

There are many different forms of contraception, and it’s important to find the one that suits you! Your GP or local Sexual Health Clinic can provide more information, or drop in to see the VP Education & Welfare.

Sexual violence or unwanted pressure to have sex, whether in or outside of a relationship, is totally unacceptable. If you feel you are immediately at risk you should call 999 without hesitation.

Being a victim of any kind of crime can be frightening and upsetting. However, rape and sexual assault are particularly distressing crimes for the victim and the effects can last for a long time.

If someone has forced you into a sexual situation that you are uncomfortable with, there is help available. Call the Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre London, on 0808 802 999 where specialised, confidential support, information and referral details are given completely free of charge.