Stress awareness month: Village Life

As we enter Stress Awareness Month, an alarming 27% of students in the UK have reported to suffer from mental health issues, according to YouGov.

That’s one in every four. What’s more, a further 92% of students have experienced feelings of distress during their studies, according to an NUS survey. And students don’t have it easy. They’re challenged by mounting tuition fees, a tough graduate job market and the constant pressure to be socialising and having fun, as their social media feeds dictate.

Our Village Life programme aims to create a stress-free experience for residents as they transition into adult life. We want to make it easier for them to juggle their newly found academic, social and financial freedom.

Rebecca O’Hare, Resident Life Manager, said: “Our Village Life programme places resident wellbeing at the core of what we do. The programme isn’t just a series of one-off events. It’s a year’s worth of opportunities for our residents to settle in and, most importantly, meet like-minded friends.”

But we want to do more than just provide an amazing day-to-day village experience – we want to make a difference. We want to make sure our residents feel at home at their village, and know where to access support if they need it – the NUS survey found that 54% of students who experienced mental health issues didn’t seek help and a third were unaware of where to find support.

Our Wellbeing Weeks, run throughout the year and focus on reducing resident stress during times of high academic pressure. The weeks’ events aim to reduce the physical (including restless sleep and muscle tension) and the mental and emotional (including anxiety and poor concentration) signs of stress. Classes have included mental skills workshops, sports massages and free healthy breakfasts.

Emily, a Prince Consort Village resident, received a sports massage during the Village’s recent Wellbeing Week. She said: “I was so overwhelmed before the massage as I have so many exams to prepare for. Afterwards, I immediately felt calmer and had a clearer head, ready to get back to revision.”

Village Life is never far away from an element of fun, either. The programme wouldn’t be complete without regular visits from our furry friends at Guide Dogs UK. According to Winalot, 55% of people feel more relaxed after spending time with a pet. Of those surveyed, 44% said they were less anxious about their problems after getting an animal fix.

From yoga to movie nights, we’re on hand to support of residents and help them unwind – not only during Stress Awareness Month, but every month of the year.

We caught up with residents during our Discover Guide Dogs event at Peel Park Quarter, Salford.