News Article

Support for BAME students during Covid-19

Covid-19 has had a major disruptive impact on our daily lives. It has had a disproportionate effect on BAME communities, and the virus has further highlighted issues with structural inequalities and their impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities.

SUPPORT FOR BAME STUDENTS DURING COVID-19

 

Covid-19 has had a major disruptive impact on our daily lives. It has had a disproportionate effect on BAME communities, and the virus has further highlighted issues with structural inequalities and their impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities.

In this guide we will cover:

  • Looking after your health and wellbeing
  • Emotional and mental health support for BAME students
  • Feeling alone
  • Safety
  • Financial support
  • Future career
  • Resources and sources of support

Below is a summary of the sources of information, help and support that BAME students can access within UCA and elsewhere.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

General health

When studying at university, it is essential that you look after your health and wellbeing. It is important that all students register with a local doctor (GP) as soon as possible, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

To find and register with the doctors closest to your campus, view our Local Information Guides via:

uca.ac.uk/student-services/health-wellbeing

For more information, help and advice for anyone at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, please go to the NHS website:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus

Information for students from non-EEA (European Economic Area) countries can be found under the heading ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’ via the following link: uca.ac.uk/international/visas-and-immigration

Emotional and mental health support for BAME students

As a BAME student, hearing reports that BAME individuals are more at risk of being negatively impacted by Covid-19 may have triggered fears about the mortality of you and your family. This may have compounded worries and pressures around finance, employment, being able to get on with your studies, or caring for a relative. You may also have been affected by the loss of friends/family or simply being away from them, worrying about them and being detached from reliable sources of support, comfort, friendship and love. Whatever your situation, there is support and help available to you, please find more information via this link:

uca.ac.uk/student-services/health-wellbeing

Gateway

Located in your campus Library, our Gateway staff are available to provide information and advice on a range of student issues or can make an appointment with one of our specialist teams. For now, all appointments will be delivered remotely. You can contact the Gateway directly by telephone or email:

Wellbeing resources and tools
Our mental health and wellbeing resources are a great source of self-help guidance to help you understand the issues you may be experiencing. They offer tools and resources to help you manage feelings such as stress, anxiety, and depression, or can help with sleep and mindfulness or support you to be more productive.

  • myWellbeing, from UniWellbeing, is an app will help you to build healthy habits and supports positive wellbeing in a fun, stimulating and interactive way. Download from the iOS App Store or Google Play and register using your UCA email.
  • togetherall is a digital mental health and wellbeing platform, offering safe, anonymous online peer support 24/7. Visit togetherall.com and register using your UCA email.
  • Wellbeing Wednesdays is a weekly online session aimed at encouraging you to spend a bit of time to check-in on your wellbeing. The sessions will focus on a different topic each week such as social anxiety, loneliness, looking after money and sexual health. Wellbeing Wednesdays is hosted on myUCA under the Community at UCA area.

Wellbeing & Counselling support

We can offer emotional and wellbeing support to you remotely (either by telephone, MS Teams, Zoom or email). Our team are experienced qualified practitioners and will help you understand yourself better and find your own solutions to resolve or cope with your current situation. You can access support via the Gateway:
uca.ac.uk/student-services/counselling

However, we are not a crisis service. This means we are unable to offer immediate support at any time it is needed. However, there are a range of other external support services which you can access.

Other mental health and wellbeing support

For emotional support:

  • Student Space: studentspace.org.uk
    The Student Space is a new platform aimed at helping to make it easier for you to find the support that you need during the coronavirus pandemic. It provides dedicated support services to students by phone, text and online as well as access to information and tools to help you through the challenges of COVID-19.

For urgent mental health support:

  • Samaritans: samaritans.org
    This free helpline offers confidential emotional support by phone from trained volunteers 24/7. Call 116 123.
  • Shout: giveusashout.org
    A free, confidential, 24/7 crisis text support service. Text ‘Shout’ to 85258.
  • Mental Health Helplines
    You can contact one of these mental health charities, organisations and support groups who can offer expert advice. Helpline availability may vary, please check.
    www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines

Otherwise, please contact your GP/doctor or call NHS 111. In an emergency, always call 999 or go to your nearest hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department (A&E).

  • GP surgery (Doctor)
    You can contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency phone appointment. In a crisis, you should be offered an appointment with the first available doctor.
  • NHS 111: 111.nhs.uk 
    NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you're not sure what to do. To get help from NHS 111, you can:
    • go to 111.nhs.uk (for people aged 5 and over only)
    • call 111

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • NHS urgent mental health helplines
    For urgent mental health support you can contact the local 24/7 NHS mental health crisis helplines:
    • Kent & Medway0300 222 0123
    • Kent Under 18’s 0300 123 4496 (select option 1, then option 3).
    • Medway Under 18’s0300 300 1981
    • Surrey & Borders0800 915 4644

Or you can find your local NHS urgent mental health helplines (in England) on the NHS website.

For international helplines and crisis-lines
To find helplines and crisis-lines from around the world, please go to Therapy Route: therapyroute.com/article/helplines-suicide-hotlines-and-crisis-lines-from-around-the-world

Bereavement support

You may have lost a loved one, or are supporting someone who has, and you may need help or advice.

Faith services

Although UCA does not have a chaplaincy, we can help signpost you to local faith services in our communities. Please contact your local Gateway or the Students’ Union. Find more information here:

uca.ac.uk/life-at-uca/facilities-resources-and-support/faith-religion

Feeling alone

We all feel lonely from time to time and experiencing feelings of loneliness is a natural reaction during the current coronavirus pandemic. Having feelings of loneliness is personal and our experiences of loneliness vary.

BAME community members may also feel lonely due to additional triggers of loneliness such as being unable to access community activities and support, racism, xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Many BAME community members are also dependent on cultural and religious community networks which give them further religious and cultural support. The Covid-19 pandemic has limited this crucial support network for the BAME community.

There are a few helpful resources that may help you:

 

We are pleased to announce that your Student Union President for Kent, Admire Ncube, will be hosting weekly half hour virtual drop-in sessions on Thursdays at 13.00 (via Zoom) to support BAME students during Covid-19. For more information, please email admire.ncube.su@ucreative.ac.uk.

Do check your University email, myUCA and follow UCA on social media to find out about events to get involved in.

Safety

Racial bullying and harassment

If you have experienced or witnessed racial bullying or harassment on campus, you can report it to any member of staff, your Personal Tutor, the Accommodation Service, Campus Registry, or the Gateway. Alternatively, you can contact the Students’ Union: advice.su@uca.ac.uk

Sexual violence

If you have experienced gender-based violence, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct you can report it to your course or Personal Tutor or a member of the Gateway team: Sexual Violence Liaison Officers, Gateway Manager, Student Wellbeing Manager, Specialist Adviser or Counsellor.

University staff can provide initial support and signpost you to appropriate specialist support services in the local area and nationally, including those that support the survivors of sexual violence.

You can find guidance for students here:

uca.ac.uk/student-services/health-wellbeing/sexual-assault

Financial support

We recognise that students are more likely to encounter financial difficulties during Covid-19. Money issues can have a negative impact on your education and wellbeing; there is a range of support available through our Specialist Advisers.

We encourage you to be prepared for the financial reality of university life. This means ensuring that funding is in place for tuition fees and maintenance (if applicable) as well as living costs.

Our Specialist Advisers are here to provide information and assistance with financial and welfare issues including student loans, budgeting and managing your finances, disputes with housemates or landlords, access to local faith services and external support agencies and services. We also provide specialist information and guidance to international students as required.

Please find more details and contacts here: uca.ac.uk/student-services/advice

Future career

UCA are partnered with Creative Access (creativeaccess.org.uk), whose mission is to help under-represented communities to enter and thrive within the creative industries. UCA promotes all their vacancies and career related events through the JobTeaser career portal.

To access careers and employability support, you can book an appointment online by registering uca.jobteaser.com using your personal email. Then go to the appointments tab and choose an available time slot.

For more information and to contact a Careers & Employability Adviser, please visit:  uca.ac.uk/careers-and-employability       

Resources and sources of support

  • The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network has collated a directory of services available throughout the UK which offer free counselling specifically set up to service the BAME community:

baatn.org.uk/free-services 

The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network have also created a page of resources in response to Covid-19 and the recent killings in the US: baatn.org.uk/well-being

  • UCA Students’ Union Help Centre: ucasu.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb
    Find advice across a wide range of topics from the Students’ Union.
  • Race Equality Foundation - Coronavirus information and resources:

raceequalityfoundation.org.uk/health-care/coronavirus-information-and-resources

The Student Space is a new platform aimed at helping to make it easier for you to find the support that you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to their advice line for students, the UK Council for International Student Affairs provide up-to-date information about Brexit, immigration, fees, student support, working and living in the UK for current and prospective international students.

 

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