The Wellbeing Fund – What Is It & Why Is It Important?
The Mind Us Project has recognised the mental ramifications and highly disproportionate risk of the adverse impact of COVID-19 amongst Black, Asian and Ethnic minorities (BAME) medical students and doctors.1 As previously mentioned in our ‘What does Wellbeing Mean to You’ article, a survey exploring the wellbeing of African and Caribbean medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic, revealed that almost 90% of respondents felt that COVID-19 had impacted their mental well-being.1 This is coupled with the identification of occupational exposure and race-related traumatic experiences, predisposing the BAME community to adverse impacts of COVID-19. The Mind Us Project has also acknowledged that BAME respondents were less likely to access the wellbeing support that they sought after (1)
These findings are of great concern and a key driver that has led to the creation of The Mind Us Project’s Wellbeing Fund.
The Wellbeing Fund allows Melanin Medics to fund a series of supportive therapy sessions, which will be delivered by BAME counsellors and therapists, to African and Caribbean medical students and doctors who are participants of the Mind Us Project.1 The specialised therapy services, made accessible via the Wellbeing Fund, will help provide the appropriate wellbeing support and interventions to circumvent the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of the Mind Us Project participant medical students and doctors.
How to Maintain Positive Wellbeing Alongside Academic Pressures:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a helpful guide to maintain good wellbeing in the face of academic pressures (2,3).
Take the time to note down your intentions with clear, time-specific goals
This will help you to take realistic steps towards completing your tasks – no matter how big or small. Sometimes, the goals may not be achieved in the way you envisioned. In these circumstances, you can adjust your notes to make it easier and try again, even if it involves taking much smaller steps.
Balance studying with other activities
As hard as this may sound for medics, we need to take regular breaks from our academic studies. Make sure that you always have scheduled breaks to look forward to. Whether this may be through relaxation, exercising, societies, or events – this will break patterns of behaviour that perpetuate pressure and stressful burnout periods. Remember that studying harder in an attempt to reduce pressure can be counter-productive. Work smarter, rather than harder.
The Golden Rule – Eat & Sleep Well
It is crucial to stick to an appropriate and balanced sleeping and eating routine. It may be tempting to compromise this during exam seasons and when you have an overwhelming amount of workload to deal with – but you will surely thank yourself in the long run.
Seek help and support!
Try to recognise your limitations, when you are feeling overwhelmed, or struggling to cope. This can be very difficult for some people but recognising this early and taking the necessary steps to access support is critical. You can reach out to:
Friends & Family
Your specific University Support Service, Personal Advisors and Tutors, Psychological/Counselling Services, Mentors, Peer Support
Organisations: Nightline (24/7 telephone support for students by students), The Samaritans, Student Minds, Young Minds, Citizen Advice, your local Mind (for students and the public), Elefriends and Side-by-Side (online support communities). Links to the organisations are listed at the end of this article.
Signed, Melanin Medics
helpline: 116 123 (freephone)
helpline: 0808 802 5544
08444 111 444 (England)
0844 477 2020 (Wales)
Text Relay service: 08444 111 445
contact: Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393
Melaninmedics.com. 2021 [cited 1 February 2021]. Available from: https://www.melaninmedics.com/mind-us-project
Student mental health during coronavirus. Mind.org.uk. 2021 [cited 1 February 2021]. Available from: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/student-mental-health-during-coronavirus/
Supporting student mental health - Office for Students. Officeforstudents.org.uk. 2021 [cited 1 February 2021]. Available from: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/coronavirus-briefing-note-supporting-student-mental-health/