Mental health March: Why your mental health matters and how you can prioritise it

By Hudaa Naeem

With mental health March over, it doesn’t give reason to stop caring for mental health. As finals approach, stress seems to be on the high. UNSW provides a great number of ways to be mindful of mental health. 

 The UNSW health promotions unit promotes well-being and provides students with opportunities to prioritise and work on their well-being. They “address the stigma surrounding mental health, aim to increase mental health literacy amongst all and build a supportive community.” UNSW last year launched a new ​​student mental health and wellbeing strategy. The health unit frames its events and activities around this strategy.  

Speaking to Tharunka, the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator Si Thu Zin said, “the mental health March events were a huge success.” With over 40 events in March from the harmony day picnic to cooking competitions and exercise sessions to panels, students had the opportunity to de-stress and find innovative ways to value their mental health. The panels consisted of The Butterfly Foundation for promoting body positivity and Georgia Grace, a renowned sex therapist, alongside psychologists to make the most of both your sexual and mental wellbeing.   

Thoughtful Food, a priority area from the Promotions unit, held a cooking competition to promote good food and how it impacts mental health. Students were provided with food mystery boxes that they could cook for themselves at home. Despite COVID making this a virtual event, it was a success. After students cooked the meal, they sent a picture of both their finished dish and the recipe.  

For those students who missed out on the mental health March, not to worry. Si Thu Zin says there’s more to come. “There will be wellness pop-up stores on campus. Mindful sessions will continue weekly. The Mental health training will run throughout the year. Anxiety and low mood workshops will also run throughout.”  

For each of the 5 priority areas for the health unit, they have strategies in place to address it to contribute to positive wellbeing. “For good food, changing the food offered on campus is something being considered. For sexual health there is Sextember. “For water safety, there are swim programs being held.  

With it approaching the end of the term, many students may have trouble dealing with stress. Si Thu Zin recommends using “the Pomodoro study method” to make the most of both your study and overall wellbeing. “Prioritise sleep, exercise, and the little things you enjoy whether it be going out with friends or having a cup of coffee. Know that you’re not alone.” There are 24/7 support lines available for both onshore and offshore students. 

With the UNSW libraries now back to running 24/7, it offers students greater flexibility to plan out their studies and fit in the things they enjoy. Both the main and law library are accessible by students. Whether it be pulling an all-nighter for an upcoming exam or assignment, the libraries are open to help students achieve completion of the task at hand. However, make sure to take breaks and plan accordingly to prevent burnouts.

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