Meet the Bristol PLUS achievers who are championing mental health in their community!

Mental Health Awareness (MHA) week is an opportunity to think about mental health, tackle stigma, and discover tools and techniques to protect our mental wellbeing.  

We're proud to support Mental Health Awareness Week
15 to 21 May 2023
Mental Health Foundation

This year, MHA week is themed around anxiety. We caught up with three Bristol PLUS Award achievers to learn how their work has improved the wellbeing of others in their community.  

Peer Navigator at Off the Record (OTR)  

Debby Olowu was shortlisted for the Resilience category in the Outstanding PLUS Awards. Debby began volunteering at OTR, a mental health charity, to gain experience in mental health while giving back to her community.  

Debby Olowu smiling

“I have helped run ‘hub sessions’ for young people aged 11-25. In each session, I play games, have conversations, and check up on participants to create a safe and engaging environment.  

To maintain my wellbeing, I’ve found my faith and talking to my friends and family helpful. Additionally, managing my time well and having a set plan has really helped, especially since I’ve had lots of commitments this year!”

Volunteer at Nightline  

Nightline offers a confidential and impartial listening service. The service is non-advisory, so this Bristol PLUS Award achiever* aimed to ask questions and help the caller reach their own conclusions or solutions where possible. 

*The following quotes have been anonymised to maintain anonymity within the Nightline service.  

“I started volunteering with Nightline because I wanted to be involved in a volunteering project that directly helps the student community. I wanted to be there for anyone struggling with their mental wellbeing, as many people don’t feel comfortable talking to those around them. 

The Nightline logo, comprising of a phone and a cloud against a blue background

My best advice to maintain your wellbeing is to work hard, but also take lots of time off! I am guilty of stressing about work, not taking breaks, becoming burnt out, ignoring my work, and then becoming stressed out again. It’s a vicious cycle that is never good for my mental wellbeing.  

Try to make an active effort to balance university work and an extracurricular / social life. I’ve found that taking a break helps to enhance my concentration when I start up work again.” 

Senior Resident at ResiLife  

Having completed her undergraduate degree before coming to Bristol, Jordi Hobbs knew how hard it can be to move away from home and live in university halls. This motivated her to become a Senior Resident, where she became a friendly and approachable figure for students living in halls.  

Jordi Hobbs smiling

“Through my ResiLife role, I have organised engaging events based on holiday seasons and Bristol’s attractions (including pumpkin carving, origami, and a Bristol Aquarium trip). I have aimed to build a community within the halls of residence, enabling students to interact with each other while completing fun activities. 

If you’re struggling with your wellbeing, don’t be shy to reach out for help: speak to family, friends, your personal tutor, other students, or Wellbeing Services. Getting help may be daunting, but is very beneficial. It’s also important to know your own mind, so you become aware when you aren’t feeling 100% – at that point it is important to reach out.”

Have you made an impact through a role or activity?  

Receive formal recognition for your experiences through the Bristol PLUS Award, the University’s employability award.   

Extra-curricular experiences from any year of your studies, anywhere in the world are PLUS-eligible. More information about the award and its requirements can be found in our PLUS Award guide.  

Already signed up for PLUS? Stay on track – log your evidence on mycareer by Friday 9 June.  

Not signed up for PLUS? Registrations will open in September 2023.  

Stand out from the crowd, achieve the Bristol PLUS Award