The University of York is expanding its networks of support for students by introducing twice weekly drop-in sessions with the Samaritans on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Samaritans is a charity which aims to provide a listening ear and emotional support to those in distress, who are struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide.
Sessions are completely confidential and Samaritans volunteers offer a non-judgemental, empathetic and congruent listening service. By listening and asking open questions volunteers are able to help people explore how they are feeling and work out how to move forward. Students are encouraged to talk through any problems affecting them, whether struggling with academic issues, personal crises, or general wellbeing.
January can be a time when people experience poor mental health or stress due to a variety of reasons. When asked how the campus sessions will benefit students at York, Community and Wellbeing Officer Mia Chaudhuri-Julyan expressed: "The Samaritans provide a completely confidential listening service which is amazing to now have here on campus as an option available for all. For anyone who wants to drop in for a chat with them about anything at all, you can find them from 6.00pm to 8.00pm every Monday (in LFA/130) and Wednesday (in GNU/001)."
Seasonal Affective Disorder, suffered by as 1 in 15 people do in the UK, combined with the shortened January days can leave some feeling un-motivated and irritable, with a persistently low mood. These widely relatable stresses have led to the nationwide phenomenon of 'Blue Monday' being marked on the third Monday of January, and for 2018 this fell last week on 15 January.
Branches of the Samaritans across the UK, however, have been aiming to turn Blue Monday into 'Brew Monday' and will be celebrating that simple but great tradition of getting together to talk over a cup of tea or coffee at events across the country in the hope of banishing the January blues. The hope is that the Samaritans drop-in service on Campus will offer York students an additional channel of support and advice. The Samaritans can also be contacted by email or phone, and students can call for free any time, from any phone, on 116 123 or 01904 655888.