Student Health supports students
Consultations and courses are two of the main activities for Student Health at LiU. The personnel meet around 1,200 students each year, approximately five percent of the total.
“Student Health works in a preventive manner, and this is why we want to get involved at an early stage”, says Gunilla Johansson, head of the unit. “Our principal focus is on helping students cope with their studies, to get back on their feet after having a difficult time for one reason or another.”
“Study-related stress, depression and anxiety are some of the most common problems people come to us for help with. They can book a consultation with one of our counsellors, nurses or health advisers. Another way of meeting us is to take one of our courses”, says Gunilla.
The courses are an important part of Student Health’s activities. An imposing programme is presented every term with everything from free-standing workshops to courses that last for several weeks.
“It’s not only the topic of the course that is useful: it’s also very positive to meet others who are experiencing the same type of problem, and to realise that you are not alone”, says Gunilla.
The subjects dealt with by termtime courses are varied, but one common theme is preventive health. You can find workshops within everything from problems with mental training, procrastination and mindfulness, to stress management and working to improve self-esteem. Since Student Health works closely with students, the personnel have the opportunity to identify any newly relevant issues. In addition, frequent meetings are held with the work environment representatives from the student unions to keep in touch with what is going on.
Many interested in mentorship training
Jonas Blom from Student Health acts as a link to the many student activities. And he is responsible for another of the areas at Student Health – mentorship training.
“We train around 2,000 students each year in preparation for the student reception activities in the autumn. The participants are highly dedicated, and many want to get involved and make sure that new students receive the same marvellous welcome that they themselves received”, says Jonas. “The training is based on the guidelines at LiU for how we receive new students. We discuss such things as what it means to have the responsibility of mentorship, and everything from managing alcohol to group dynamics is dealt with.
“For obvious reasons, the reception activities this year were particularly intensive, as a consequence of the uncertain situation. So I would like to take the opportunity to praise the mentors and organisers who fixed superb reception activities, despite the unusual circumstances and the lateness at which guidelines were established”, says Jonas.
A range of ages of those seeking help
Newly admitted students who have not found their feet or come to terms with their new life make up a relatively large group of those who contact Student Health.
“As a new student, you’re facing a huge transition when starting university. Maybe you’ve moved away from home and have to organise not only your own accommodation but also create a completely new social group, while discovering study techniques that work for you”, says Gunilla.
But she points out at the same time that it is not just new students who contact Student Health.
“We meet all types of student, not just those who have recently left home. There are also quite a few ‘older’ students in other phases of life. They may be people who have started to study later in life, or choose to take a new direction, and have problems getting all aspects of life to work together. We can offer support also in these cases.”
Adapted for distance mode
At the moment, much of the activity at Student Health has been adapted to distance mode.
“We have modified the range of courses we offer such that they can be given using Zoom, and our support consultations are to a large extent held remotely”, says Gunilla, who adds that she really hopes that they soon will be able to offer physical consultations again. “As an extra service, we’ve started to hold fixed telephone times, such that we can better satisfy the needs of the university. People have really appreciated this, and we plan to continue.”
Do you need to contact Student Health?
The services offered by Student Health are free of charge for students, and all personnel are subject to professional secrecy. Students can come into contact with Student Health rapidly.
Photo upper right: Gunilla Johansson, Student Health
Photo lower right: Jonas Blom, Student Health
Text: Charlotte Perhammar
Translation: George Farrants
Photo: Charlotte Perhammar, Anna Nilsen
Last updated: 2020-10-05