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PGR Supervisor Guide to Supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB) of Postgraduate Researchers: University Wellbeing Courses you can do

Mental Health and Wellbeing Courses for PGR Supervisors (on Canvas)

Introduction

The University Mental Health and Wellbeing Team developed three health and wellbeing courses for staff across the University.  These were released by Learning Development for online delivery via Canvas last Autumn.   They are intended for staff who provide a pastoral role or who are student facing such as personal supervisors.  We have made these available to PGR supervisors on an open and flexible basis over this current academic year, and not as part of a formal course.  They are designed to be undertaken in order, however, we know that it would be more useful for you if we offered them in this flexible way where you can choose which modules you want to read/work through at a time to suit you.  If you do complete any or all of the courses and want this recording on your training record, this can be arranged in conjunction with Learning and Development. Please contact Jackie McAndrew, PGR Experience Specialist in the Doctoral College. 

For information, the course titles are as follows: 

  1. 'Introduction to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health'

  2. 'Supporting the Distressed Student'

  3. 'Suicide Awareness'

Please contact Jackie McAndrew, PGR Experience Specialist in the Doctoral College. 

 

How do I access these courses? 

Each module available separately as a Canvas Course.  Course content details and links are provided in order below.  We will invite all PGR Supervisors to each module and you can choose whether or not to enroll on one or more of them.  If you lose the link in just email me and I can add you to the course/s.  Jackie McAndrew, PGR Experience Specialist in the Doctoral College

 

Any questions?

If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact me Jackie McAndrew, PGR Experience Specialist in the Doctoral College

'Introduction to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health' (Canvas) for PGR Supervisors

The course is designed to give you confidence in your existing skills, and develop new knowledge to support you in your understanding of wellbeing and mental health.  This course has been adapted digitally and to reflect the current situation during the pandemic.

For information, this course normally runs over three days and takes around three hours in total to complete. However, as described above you can choose when best suits you to work through the materials.  

 

Course Overview/Learning Outcomes

Module 1

  • Increase your knowledge and understanding of emotional wellbeing, mental distress, mental health problems and mental illness.
  • Explore the mental health continuum. 
  • Identify the risk and protective factors that can lead to poor emotional wellbeing and mental health. 
  • Consider your own wellbeing and create a Mind Plan to support or improve your wellbeing.

40 to 60 mins to complete. 

Module 2 

  • Understand the stress response and how stress manifests in the mind and body.
  • Explore different ways that people can deal with stress to increasing our wellbeing.

60 to 90 mins to complete.

Module 3

  • Increase your confidence and skills needed to start a conversation with someone who is experiencing difficulties and know what support is available to sign post them to.

40 to 60 mins to complete.​

Developed/written by:  Laura Starky, Mental Health Practitioner/Staff Trainer

 

To join the course

Accept the invite link that has been sent to you on Canvas or email Jackie McAndrew here to request to be added 

'Supporting the Distressed Student' (Canvas) for PGR Supervisors

This course is designed to give you confidence in your existing skills, develop new skills to support you in your role to offer a first line of support to students who may have mental health issues or be in distress.   This course has been adapted digitally and to reflect the current situation during the pandemic. 

 

​Course Overview/Learning Outcomes

University is an exciting and rewarding time for many students, however, students also face personal, academic and emotional challenges. Sometimes students will seek the support of student well-being services but often they will approach other staff informally.  

Module 1 

We will look at the key principles you will need to consider when supporting students in informal situations, in order to support them effectively while remaining within the boundaries of your professional role. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • State the key principles in supporting students
  • Explain the importance of privacy agreements and their limits
  • Describe why good timing makes for successful interventions
  • State the limits of your professional role
  • Know when to respond to potential risk and when to refer on to colleagues and specialist services
  • Explain the five key requirements for good note-keeping
  • Review your own self-care habits and know how to maintain and enhance these in order to sustain you in your role

Completion time 60 - 90 mins.

Module 2

We will look into the different behaviours likely to be within the 'normal' range of university students at certain times and know what signs may indicate deteriorating mental health. Also to be able to recognise conditions which would require a swift response. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Identify characteristics associated with good mental health
  • Recognise behaviours likely to be within the 'normal' range of university students at certain times
  • Identify behaviours that may be signs of deteriorating mental health
  • Recognise conditions which suggest a swift response is required
  • State where to find further information

Completion time 40 - 60 mins.

Module 3

This session focuses on how best to respond to students who are experiencing crises, and/or take risks with their, or others, wellbeing. To help students in these situations, without becoming stressed from your own involvement, requires that we are well supported within ourselves and by other colleagues. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Describe what is meant by crisis and risk
  • Outline some practical strategies to support the student
  • Recognise how to remain safe while helping a student

Completion time 40 - 60 mins. 

Module 4 

What are the key skills needed to offer this first line of support to students. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Identify the qualities of a good listener
  • State the five main skills of active listening
  • Classify four statements identifying barriers to listening
  • Identify open, probing, leading and closed questions
  • Differentiate between empathy and sympathy

Completion time 60 - 90 mins.

 

Developed/written by:  Laura Starky, Mental Health Practitioner/Staff Trainer

 

To join the course

Accept the invite link that has been sent to you on Canvas or email Jackie McAndrew here to request to be added.

 

Useful Information

Not sure what to do?  Download the University's 'Quick Guide to Supporting the Distressed Student' 

This guide will help you if a distressed PGR seeks your advice or support.  It will help you to: 

  • Recognise when a student may be in difficulty
  • Provide advice to help you respond appropriately and effectively
  • Remind you of the sources of support within the University
  • Raise awareness of issues relating to student mental health.

'Suicide Awareness' (Canvas) for PGR Supervisors

This session is a suicide awareness session that helps participants understand the issue of suicide and how they can help to prevent it in their communities.

 

Course Overview/Learning Outcomes

Module 1

  • Consider your attitude towards suicide
  • Understand the different levels of creating a suicide safer community
  • Know what the recent statistics are and the challenges in recording deaths by suicide
  • Explore why we should talk about suicide
  • Understand why we avoid talking about suicide

60 to 90 mins to complete. 

Module 2 

  • Understand the myths and facts that surround suicide
  • Know why we need to talk openly and directly about suicide
  • Know where to find further help and support
  • Consider further training to be a suicide alert helper

60 to 90 mins to complete.

 

Developed/written by:  Laura Starky, Mental Health Practitioner/Staff Trainer

 

To join the course

Accept the invite link that has been sent to you on Canvas or email Jackie McAndrew here to request to be added.