YUSU President and Community and Wellbeing Officer sent out 1,914 Signposting Guides to the University’s academic staff


Nadia Sayed (she/her) reports on YUSU's Signposting Guides.

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Image by YUSU

By Nadia Sayed

YUSU President Pierrick Rodger and Community and Wellbeing Officer Hannah Nimmo sent out Signposting Guides to 1,914 members of the University’s academic staff.

On Tuesday, 26 September, the two Sabbatical Officers shared a collaborative post on Instagram, which stated: “This is our second year in doing these, and whilst it’s a LOT of writing names envelopes for us, it’s all completely worth it to make sure that every single student is able to access adequate support from their supervisors and academics whenever they might need it.”

When asked if she could explain what the signposting guides were, Hannah Nimmo replied, “The signposting guide is designed to outline all of the support that a student could possibly need whilst they are studying at York. It details key services and provisions across campus and York that often act as initial touch points for student support, as well as an array of information on specific issues that students may face, and support that is available for more specific student communities too.”

Hannah continued to state, “They are designed for use by our students to access support information whenever they may need it, but it really can be used by anyone! Some of the support is specific to students and/or young people, or tailored to supporting specific communities of people, but a lot of the support is national and not restricted either, so there is enough support for anyone to access.”

“By giving a signposting guide to every member of academic staff, it should ensure that at every touch point, a student should have whilst studying at University, the contact they have should be able to adequately signpost the student to support on anything that they could possibly need support for. It also helps University staff understand the types of issues students may come up against whilst on their respective University journeys, which can be really useful to them in supporting students they teach or supervise.”

A complete list of the services can be found in the YUSU Signposting Guide, which includes access links to each service and information about what each service offers. The services included in the guide are categorised under the following groups: key services and provisions, issue-based support and support for student communities, as stated on the contents page.

When asked how the idea to create the signposting guides originated, Hannah told Nouse, that when she first started her role as Community and Wellbeing Officer in July 2022, certain students were concerned that “their supervisors weren’t really aware of the best places to refer students to for support if they couldn’t offer it themselves.”

Hannah continued, “The signposting guide is designed to aid this and to be an initial point for students to look for whatever support they need. By giving the cards to academic supervisors, it helps to bridge the gap in support that students felt existed in support for them.”

In an Instagram post she shared last year, Nimmo said the signposting “took over 60 hours.” When asked how long the guides took to make this year, she replied: “To put the envelopes together to post, from pulling the staff directories together to packing up all 1,914 envelopes, it took myself and YUSU President Pierrick, who was a real help to this project, about 4-5 days!”

Nouse then asked the question: Do you have other tips and advice for students struggling with mental health and well-being regarding the support they can access and moving past the stigma surrounding mental health?

Hannah replied, “I know first-hand that taking that first step in reaching out for mental health support can be scary, but there is no shame in admitting that you may need some additional help. I am a huge advocate for talking - sharing your thoughts or feelings with friends, families, colleagues, or someone you trust can really help them to not weigh such a heavy burden on you personally, whilst also often helping to be the first step to accessing any further support that you need.”

“Looking after yourself first, though, is also important - it is always great to be there for others, but you need to make sure you have the personal capacity to do so. Taking some time out frequently to do something to positively benefit you or just something you enjoy can really help to lift your spirits.”

More information on accessing support can be found on the University’s dedicated support pages, including the health and wellbeing and if things go wrong page.