Student Minds Cambridge is running an online campaign to give recognition to people doing amazing welfare work, activism or providing some kind of support to students. For the rest of the year, we will be publishing a series of individual interviews on our blog with the nominated ‘Welfare Warriors’.
Our third Welfare Warrior is Georgia Cook, who is the former KCGS Welfare Officer and the current KCGS chair
‘Georgia is an incredibly warm, welcoming and supportive person. She is a wonderful listening ear to anyone who needs support and she is really just one of the best people I have ever met. We are so lucky to have her at King’s! Even though she is no longer Welfare Officer, she has an extremely positive influence on the grad community’.
Why is talking about mental health important at Cambridge?
Talking about mental health is important everywhere! People from all avenues of life and in all different situations can, and do, experience mental health issues. An environment like Cambridge is a particular crucible for this, as it tends to attract people who hold themselves to very high standards and therefore sometimes struggle to give themselves a break. Talking about your experiences can not only help you accept and understand them, but also help others around you to see that they’re not the only ones who are finding things hard, and that it’s OK to not be OK.
What is your favourite self-care tip?
Though it’s not as glamorous as taking a bubble bath, I find that going for a run always helps to clear my head. That combined with the power of a good night’s sleep really can never be over-stated!
What would you improve about welfare in Cambridge?
Many of the academics here are brilliant in their field but don’t necessarily undergo training in areas such as people management and welfare provisions that are necessary to make someone a good mentor/tutor/supervisor/pastoral carer. Perhaps training that gave them a greater understanding of the strain student life can have on mental health would give them greater empathy.
What would you recommend to someone who is struggling with mental health?
Reach out and talk to someone about it. If it’s something you really don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend about then go through your college handbook/Freshers’ guide to find the section on Welfare support. It’s often the case for people that all of these seem like uncomfortable options, but talking to people really helps, and usually the reality of doing it is much less scary than you imagine, so find the option that seems the least uncomfortable and just give it a try.
What’s the best thing someone can do to support their friends?
The best thing you can do to support your friends is to really listen to them. People don’t always actually want advice, but having someone to talk to about what is troubling them can be very mood-uplifting just by itself, even if you offer no solution. A key part of being a good listener is setting boundaries – there will be times when you have a lot going on in your life, or are tired or busy, and are unable to give your friends the support you’d normally like to. You’ll be most helpful to both you and your friend if you are honest about this and schedule your chat for a time in future when you are able to offer the support they are seeking.
If you are struggling with your mental health, check out Find Support Cam – an online guide to finding mental health support in Cambridge.