Wellbeing@UCL launch event
By ucyow3c, on 26 January 2017
Written by Faaiza Bokhari (UCL Occupational Health & Wellbeing)
Wellbeing isn’t just about ourselves, but also about what we can do for others – this was something that UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur was keen to emphasise at the launch of Wellbeing@UCL – UCL’s five-year wellbeing strategy for the whole of the UCL community.
On 18 January, I attended the launch in the South Cloisters as a member of the UCL Occupational Health and Wellbeing team, which has been working on the wellbeing strategy as part of a new holistic approach to occupational health. More than 500 staff and students attended on the day, demonstrating the importance of wellbeing to our staff and students.
The buzz around the event was fantastic, and it was great to see so many people coming together for something that could prove really valuable to the community. Attendees were interested to find out more about UCL’s future plans, particularly the six ‘pillars’ of the Wellbeing@UCL strategy, and spending time on the Occupational Health and Wellbeing stand gave me the opportunity to connect with people one-on-one.
As well as providing information about how UCL is aiming to support wellbeing, the event also offered staff and students an opportunity to sample some of the ways that wellbeing can create positive change. A range of health and wellbeing partners provided specialist information around how we can be more aware of our lifestyle choices and make changes that have a positive effect on our day-to-day lives.
For example, Sodexo organised a fun ‘guess the vegetable’ game, running out of competition entry forms as it was so popular! And Occupational Health Advisors demonstrated how to take your own pulse and feel for a rhythm – an irregular pulse can be a sign of Atrial Fibrillation (AF), one of the most common forms of an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to a stroke. Representatives from UCL’s Parents and Carers Together (PACT) network and Dignity at Work were also present.
In addition, a number of wellbeing workshops were available to staff and students, including resilience, mindfulness through art and sleep for health. I attended one on mental health first aid, delivered by Karen Smith, UCL Wellbeing Consultant. The workshop encouraged us to be more open about our own mental health and to start conversations with those who may need support, and it also explored the language used around mental health and how this can create stigma.
This is something I continued to think about following the workshop, particularly how difficult it is to find positive/neutral/non-judgemental ways of talking about mental health and how what we say can have an impact on others. Like the President & Provost said, there’s a lot that we can do to improve the wellbeing of ourselves and others, and the launch of Wellbeing@UCL was an important first step to achieving this.