Get to know us a little better

So the Society Sign-Up Fair is over for another Freshers, thank you all who came along, it was fantastic to speak to some lovely new faces and to greet some returning ones. For those who didn’t get a chance to pop along or perhaps still want to know a little bit more about what Keele Student Minds are about and what we will be up to this coming semester, here’s a bit more information so you can get to know us a little better. If you have any questions feel free to email!

Keele Student Minds are a mental health campaigning group here at Keele University, aiming to raise awareness, challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and provide a safe community for students to socialise and support each other.

So what do we do? It’s quite simple: we’re here to help!

We deliver a variety of mental health campaigns to raise awareness of important issues and to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.

Our signposting service is one of the most vital services we provide, it’s available to anybody, member or not. We aim to raise awareness of the support services available to Keele students. We recognise it can be difficult to ask for help when things get tough, and it’s hard to know what options are available. Our signposting service tries to offer a helping hand by providing a list of resources that can offer further support, making all your options clear.

We provide a safe space for socialisation, including several non-drinking socials, both on and off campus every year.

Finally we offer great opportunities to volunteer, gaining hours which work towards HEAR recordable volunteering awards. You can earn these hours by getting hands on with our campaigns or getting involved with our publicity, even taking a spin as the lovely Nelly!

But who is Nelly?

Nelly the Elephant is our official mascot. We believe that mental health shouldn’t be the elephant in the room. We want to encourage more people to be able to discuss mental health freely, without feeling uncomfortable and without fearing stigma. Nelly reminds us of these principles and helps us to achieve this. You’ll see her around campus raising awareness and at our events, come along and say hello or volunteer to don the mighty trunk!

Membership and Mailing Lists

There is a wide a variety of things to get involved with in Keele Student Minds and membership is completely free. If you’re interested in becoming a member visit – you just need to add the membership to basket and checkout (you won’t be charged a penny!)

We have our society mailing list to keep you guys up to date with everything we’re getting up to this year and we also have our volunteering mailing list for those who want to earn some volunteering hours. Volunteering is run on an as and when you are free basis; we will email out about upcoming opportunities over the year, if you’re free for a particular opportunity and want to get involved you just respond to the email and we arrange thing further from there.

If you’re interested in going on either our society mailing list and/or our volunteering mailing list drop us a line to

We hope you enjoy the rest of Freshers week, be sure to keep an eye out for the event happening on World Mental Health Day on October 8th and to pop and along and go all out for our Flirt Pyjama Party fancy dress night at Keele SU on Wednesday October 14th – we’ll be raising money for the national Student Minds charity and Marrow who we’re collaborating with for the evening, we’ll have music kindly provided by KUBE Radio, a photo booth, an amazing blanket fort and even some prizes for the best fancy dress. Not one to miss!

Confidentiality Agreement

Confidentiality is important to us at Keele Student Minds.

We know confidentiality is the most important aspect of telling others about difficulties, that’s why when you need help, we want you to know that you’re in good hands. Confidentiality is the key to providing a top-notch signposting service, and we believe that you deserve to be confident when disclosing sensitive information to those in a position of trust.

That’s why we’ve drawn up our Confidentiality Agreement – all committee members and signposting volunteers need to agree to the terms of agreement before taking up their role. The confidentiality agreement is outlined below.

If you need help, you can get in touch through our signposting page here.

  1. I understand that as KSM committee member/signposting volunteer (delete as appropriate) I must adhere to strict confidentiality with all information disclosed by a service user. However if an individual is deemed to be at serious risk of harming themselves or others then KSM have a legal obligation to safeguard and inform relevant authorities with information deemed absolutely necessary and within reason.
  2. I will provide an objective and non-judgemental response to all who disclose any information about a mental health issue with me.
  3. I understand that KSM is strictly a signposting service, I will not give advice to service users and will give appropriate signposting to any service user who wishes to receive it.
  4. I promise, as a KSM committee member/signposting volunteer that I will endeavour to treat all who communicate with me as an equal, with a respectful and understanding attitude. I understand that mental health is a complicated issue that requires patience and an empathetic approach.

Say Hello to Nelly the Elephant!

Keele Student Minds are proud to introduce our new mascot Nelly the Elephant!

We believe that mental health should no longer be the elephant in the room, we want to encourage people to be able to talk about mental health and to reduce the stigma surround it. Nelly is here to help us do just that!

20150223_140504Poor old Nelly got lost on her first day at Keele but luckily she met lots of amazing students who gave her a warm welcome!

blog 1blog 2Everyone that said hello to Nelly were told more about what Keele Student Minds are about, we aim to promote awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma surround them and to signpost students to mental health support through our signposting service.

blog 3We went and hung out with the lovely Annie Piper and Bhav Patel in the Sabbs office and even manage to nab a cheeky picture with our awesome new president for 2015/16 Kimmy Colombo!

blog sabsWe’d like to thank Keele for giving Nelly such a warm welcome, im sure you’ll see her roaming around campus again very soon!

Keep on eye out for the rest of our Love Your Body Week Events, tonight we have a quiz night in Blueprint from 7, we’ll be around Keele asking students what their best feature is on Wedneday, Thursday we have our exciting #GetComfy social where we’re inviting Keele to come along and wear what they feel best in (just no birthday suits please guys), that will be DJ’d be the lovely KUBE radio ( so should be an awesome night! And to round up to week on Friday we’ll be holding a Charity Bake Sale to raise money for BEAT, a national eating disorders charity, in support of their Eating Disorders Awareness Day from 12pm on Concourse!

It’s a busy busy week and we’d love to see your beautiful selves throughout it!

Love Your Body Week 23rd February-1st March

Keele Student Minds are back with a brand new campaign!

It’s our Love Your Body Week 23rd February until 1st March, we aim to promote positive body image, boost self esteem and self acceptance and appreciation. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, we hope that Keele Students can be encouraged to love theirs!

We have lots of events going on this week and the introduction of our fabulous new mascot Nelly the Elephant.

For event information follow our Facebook group Keele Student Minds or like our page (same name)


Substance Abuse

Substance abuse refers to the excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs. Using these products becomes an addiction when you are reliant on them and cannot stop using them.

Where to get help;

  • ADSIS – A service for individuals & those concerned about them who are affected by alcohol abuse. Based in Hanley & Leek, they offer open access sessions, advice, psychological support & relapse prevention. or call 01782 271096
  • Al-Anon – Family groups for individuals who have experience or know someone who has experience problems with alcohol.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – Advice and support for individuals who believe they are abusing alcohol. or call 0845 769 7555
  • Alsanger Youth Project – An information & advice centre based in Stoke-on-Trent for 11-23 year olds on a variety of issues such as anger, abuse, bullying, self-esteem, substance abuse, identity/sexuality, mental illness, suicide & self-harm. 01270875961
  • Aquarius – A free confidential service for anyone with or those affected by alcohol, drug or gambling problems or call 01782 283113
  • ECHO – A mutual support group ran by Brighter Futures for people who self-harm. This can include eating disorders, substance abuse, cutting, burning etc. 01782 683 192
  • FRANK – A 24/7 advice and helpline offering support for drug abuse. 0800 776600
  • Life Space – A support forum for individuals feeling suicidal, who self-harm, experiencing substance abuse, depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders & several other disorders.
  • Nacoa – The National Assiociation for Children of Alcoholics. – Information, advice & support for people affected by a parent’s drinking. or call 0800 358 3456
  • Narcotics Anonymous – Advice & support for individuals who are concerned they are abusing drugs. or call 0300 999 1212
  • Release – A helpline offering information on drugs including legal advice. or call 0845 4500215
  • Substance Misuse Services – Provided by the NHS & provide support to individuals who abuse substances. Stoke Community Drug Service – 01782 425100 or Newcastle Community Addiction Service – 01782 624890
  • Turning Point – Provide information, help & advice for individuals dealing with substance misuse. They offer a walk- in service & have units in Leek, Biddulph, Newcastle & Moorlands. or call Newcastle – 01782 715938



Everyone experiences disturbed sleep from time to time, however when these sleep problems last weeks, months or years this may be a sign of a bigger problems. Sleep problems can affect everyday life, energy and activity levels, mood and concentration.

Types of sleep problem;

  • Insomnia – difficulty falling or staying asleep. You may find yourself waking early in the morning, feeling constantly tired and as if your sleep does not refresh you.
  • Hypersominia – also known as oversleeping, you may be sleeping more than your body needs to. You may also feel tired all the time and as if your sleep does not refresh you.
  • Nightmares and Night Terrors – Nightmares are intense. frightening dreams that cause you to wake frequently. Night terrors occur during deep sleep, people often find it difficult to wake up from these and often have no memory of what have happened. Both of these can affect sleep quality and cause general anxiety about falling asleep.
  • Sleep Paralysis – where you wake up in the night and cannot move or speak due to the sleep hormones still in your muscles. It usually lasts between a couple of seconds to a few minutes, it cannot harm you but may cause anxiety about sleeping.
  • Sleep Walking – involves moving or getting up in the night, its not usually a problem unless you injure yourself but it can affect how rested you feel the next day.


Tips for getting a good night’s sleep;

  1. Make your bedroom a calm space – make sure the light, temperature, sound and atmosphere suit you. Turn off all screens, TVs and phones as these stimulate your brain and keep you awake.
  2. Try a breathing technique
  3. Notice what you eat or drink – limiting caffeine, alcohol and sugar levels may help improve sleep
  4. Check for physical causes
  5. Plan your day wisely – put more troublesome tasks at the start and easier tasks at the end
  6. Keep a sleep diary- this may help spot patterns in your everyday habits and sleep
  7. Change your medication – some medication, particularly those for mental health, can affect sleep


Information sourced from

Sexuality & Gender Identity

Sexuality refers to your sexual orientation, who you are attracted to. Gender identity refers to the gender you identify with, this may be different to your biological sex.

There are seven main types of sexuality;

  • Heterosexuality – finding people of the opposite sex attractive
  • Homosexuality – finding people of the same sex attractive
  • Bisexuality – finding people of both sexes attractive
  • Asexuality – also known as nonsexuality, where no sexual attraction or interest is felt towards others
  • Polysexuality – also known as omnisexuality, is an attraction towards more then one gender. Differs from bisexual, which implies there are only two sexes.
  • Pansexuality – sexual attraction towards people regardless of sex, usually referred to as gender blind.
  • Transexualism – where a person identifies as a sex that is different to their biological one


Gender Dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder, gender incongruence or transgenderism, is a condition on which a person feels there is a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity, the gender they identify with.

Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria;

  • Strongly feeling that your gender does not match your biological sex
  • Comfortable only when in the gender role of your preferred gender identity
  • A strong desire to hide or get ride of any physical signs of your sex, such as breasts, muscle definition or body hair.
  • A strong dislike for and strong desire to change the genitalia of your biological sex.


Information sourced from &

Where to get help;

  • Alsanger Youth Project – An information & advice centre based in Stoke-on-Trent for 11-23 year olds on a variety of issues such as anger, abuse, bullying, self-esteem, substance abuse, identity/sexuality, mental illness, suicide & self-harm. 01270875961
  • The Beaumont Society – Help & support for the transgendered community. or call 0845 634 1414
  • Gaylife – A support group for lesbian, gay & bisexual individuals, they provide weekly meetings for members. or call 0300 123 0970
  • Queer Youth Network – A support forum for LGBT young people.
  • London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard – Free & confidential support & information for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgendered individuals throughout the UK or call (Daily 10am-10pm)0300 330 0630
  • Mermaids – Support for individuals with gender identity issues & their family. or call (Mon-Sat 3pm-7pm) 0208 1234819


Self-harm is when someone intentionally injures or damages their body. It’s a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.

There are many different types of self-harm, some are;

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • over or under-eating
  • burning yourself
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • overdosing
  • exercising excessively
  • scratching
  • hair pulling
  • skin picking


Information sourced from &

Where to get help;

  • Alsanger Youth Project – An information & advice centre based in Stoke-on-Trent for 11-23 year olds on a variety of issues such as anger, abuse, bullying, self-esteem, substance abuse, identity/sexuality, mental illness, suicide & self-harm. 01270875961
  • ECHO – A mutual support group ran by Brighter Futures for people who self-harm. This can include eating disorders, substance abuse, cutting, burning etc. 01782 683 192
  • Harmless – A site providing support, information & coping strategies for individuals who self-harm.
  • Life Signs – Advice, support & information for individuals who self-harm. Including tips for preventing self-harm & guidance of talking to people about it.
  • Life Space – A support forum for individuals feeling suicidal, who self-harm, experiencing substance abuse, depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders & several other disorders.
  • National Self-Harm Network (NSHN) – An information & support site for individuals who self-harm
  • Recover Your Life – A support community for individuals who self-harm and/or have a mental illness.
  • Self-injury Support – Information, help & support for women & girls who self-harm.


Self-esteem refers to the beliefs we hold about ourselves – who we think we are, our abilities, the positive and negative things about us and our expectations for the future.

People with a healthy self-esteem tend of think positive things about themselves, however those with low self-esteem see mainly the negative parts of themselves.

How to increase self-esteem;

  • Do something you enjoy, this can be work or a hobby
  • Build positive relationships with others
  • Learn to be assertive – value yourself and others
  • Look after your physical health
  • Set yourself goals and challenges
  • Learn to identify and challenge negative beliefs
  • Focus on positive things
  • Try mindfulness


Information sourced from

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern.Episode of depression tend to occur during the Autumn and Winter months asthe days begin to get shorter.

Symptoms of SAD;

  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Indeciveness
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Lack of concentration
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep changes


Information sourced from

Where  to get help;

  • Change for Good – An information & free report site on depression, anger, stress, self-esteem, SAD & insomnia.
  •  The Light Room – A blog offering information, support, resources & useful articles for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • SAD – An information & support site for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder. They also provide links to treatment approved light boxes.
  • SADA – Seasonal Affective Disorder Association. – Information & support for individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder  (SAD)