We are all shocked and saddened by the recent terror attacks and conflict in Israel and Gaza and acknowledge that many of you will feel the same. We know that when lives are affected by conflict and war, it is common to feel things such as fear, confusion, or anger. These are all normal and understandable reactions which are at the centre of our Learning Philosophy in the form of emotions.
Often young people look for information or answers online and whilst being online is a great way to stay connected and informed, during particularly intense media coverage, this can be tough on your mental health and wellbeing.
We therefore wanted to share some top tips for staying safe and looking after yourself and others online during this unsettling time.
Focus on self-care
It’s easy to become engrossed by what is going on in the world and forget about your own needs. Make sure you are eating, hydrating, and sleeping well. Keep to your normal routines and make time for activities such as getting some fresh air, exercise, and quality time with loved ones.
Know when to unplug
Reading or watching the news constantly can increase feelings of stress. Take breaks, set screen time limits or reminders, and turn off push notifications. Consider designating times to be online, and times when to avoid it.
Learn more than the headline
When you do consume the news, consider reading or watching entire pieces rather than just scrolling through headlines, photos, or short news clips. Choose reliable news sources that you can trust.
Talk it out offline
People are more likely to express hurtful or simplistic views in online comments than in person, and it’s easier to mistake people’s meaning discussing online. Talking through difficult events in person can help you to understand how everyone is feeling.
Avoid reposting or sharing graphic content
If you come across images, videos, or text that depict violence, don’t share it with others. While it can feel like solidarity to share this content, it can also be disturbing and harmful to those who see it.
Consider your online reputation
Be careful not to incite violence or discriminate against others, which could be illegal. Racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, abuse, incitement of hate or harassment will never be tolerated.
Find small ways to act
It can feel hard to know what to do in the face of upsetting news. If you choose to act, consider finding small steps you can take, such as helping a friend, neighbour, or volunteering for a local organisation.
Support available at college
We want to remind everyone of the following support that is available within Activate Learning:
Your Tutor or Progress Coach
Your tutor and/or progress coach should be your first point of contact for all concerns or worries you may have. They will be able to signpost and direct you to the right support, such as:
Counselling: Each college has a free Counselling Service which offer eight weeks of counselling sessions to students who would like more in depth support in a confidential space to discuss their worries and concerns.
You can self-refer or ask your tutor to refer you to the following people:
- Guildford College, Merrist Wood College and Farnham College: Renuka Ahluwalia
- City of Oxford College: Jan Jones
- Banbury and Bicester College: Christina Howkins-Griffiths
- Reading College: Gill Brooks
- Bracknell and Wokingham College: Rebecca Senel
Behaviour and Welfare: Every college has a Behaviour and Welfare Officer who supports with incidents on campus, such as bullying, harassment, and any police involvement. They can be found via the Advice and Admissions Centre.
Intervention Progress Coaching (IPC): IPC sessions offer short term coaching to eligible students for one session a week for six weeks. They cover topics such as anger management; resilience; respect; sleep and health habits; emotional regulation; managing relationships; and managing change and stress.
Learning Support: The Learning Support team can help students if they are finding their studies challenging and struggling to focus on their education. The team can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.
Safeguarding: The Safeguarding team support students who are experiencing or are at risk of significant harm. This may be due to abuse, harassment, exploitation such as radicalisation or due to significant mental health difficulties such as suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
The team can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Outside of College the following organisations can also help:
If you’re feeling distressed and need urgent support: Contact your GP surgery to request an emergency appointment. If your GP surgery isn’t open, call the free NHS out-of-hours medical line on 111 for help accessing the right services.
- Samaritans: You can call for free on 116 123 to talk to someone at any time, day, or night.
- Report harmful content online
- Contact Stop Hate UK
- If you’ve been the victim of a crime, contact the police