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Introducing CBT for low mood and depression

Depression is among the most common mental health problems faced by students. In this series of podcasts, we look at what depression is and how it can impact student life, and offer some ideas and techniques to help you through it. Drawing on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), an evidence-based approach for the treatment of depression, they provide a framework for thinking about ways in which depression and low mood can keep you stuck, and some practical tools you can try out either on your own or with the help of a counsellor.

Importantly, these podcasts are not intended to be used as a replacement for counselling or therapy for those who may need it. Rather, the hope is that will give you some ideas which might be part of a process of understanding more about yourself and, ultimately, feeling better.

Useful Links and Resources

Students against Depression: https://www.studentsagainstdepression.org/ - lots of self-help materials including a Safety Plan template (see the Self Help page)

Dr Kristen Neff’s website: https://self-compassion.org/guided-self-compassion-meditations-mp3-2/ - lots of resources including guided exercises on self compassion.

University Counselling Service Self-Help Resources: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling/self-help (see the Mental Health section in particular for more useful links)

Points of Contact

Emergency Services: Call 999 or go to Accident & Emergency (A&E) if you are at immediate risk e.g. if you are having suicidal thoughts and believe you might act on them imminently. The nearest A&E in Oxford is at the John Radcliffe Hospital: Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU. See weblink for Emergency Department of Psychiatry: https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/AM-075.15-Eme...

Your GP: Your GP is a point of contact for mental as well as physical health and can make referrals to specialist services where appropriate. See your college website if you’re not sure which surgery you’re connected to.

111: Call 111 if you need medical help quickly but there is not an immediate risk, or if you are unable to contact your GP surgery (e.g. due to its being out-of-hours). As well as physical health advice, this is a source of round the clock, non-emergency advice on accessing mental health support.

Safe Haven: A late night safe space for people experiencing mental health crisis (run in partnership with Mind). Open 6pm – 10pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. You can self-refer on the night from 5pm by calling 01865 903037 or email: oxonsafehaven@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

College Support

Your College Welfare Team: Every college has its own setup but this may include a Wellbeing Adviser, Welfare Officer or Dean, Chaplain, Nurse and others. Check your college website if you’re not sure who to contact.

Your College Lodge: The porters can also help you access support within college. If you need urgent support outside of normal working hours, they will be able to alert an on-call Junior Dean who can help you access appropriate support.

Helplines and Online Support

Samaritans: 116 123. Emotional support helpline, free to access, operates 24/7.

NightLine: 01865 270 270. Run by and for students, open 8pm – 2am, also offers instant messaging chat.

No Panic: 0300 7729844 OR 0330 606 1174 for the Youth Helpline (13-20 year-olds). Operates 10am to 10pm, provides support for people struggling with anxiety.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably): 0800 58 58 58. Operates 5pm – midnight. “For people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.” Also offers webchat.

The Mix: 0808 808 4994. Support service aimed specifically at under 25s. Helpline is open 3pm – midnight, and there are also webchat and text support services available.

Togetherall: A safe, professionally moderated online peer support community. Register with your university email address to gain free access.

The Helplines Partnership: There are lots of other helplines and online supports out there. This site helps you find organisations you can contact quickly by phone, email or online, for a range of different forms of support.

# Episode Title Description People Date
6 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 6: Self-Criticism This sixth podcast in the CBT for Low Mood series focuses on self-criticism. It looks at why we can be so critical of ourselves and when this can become a problem, and introduces three tips and tools to help you deal with unhelpful self-criticism. Jonathan Totman 21 Apr 2022
5 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 5: Ten Tips for Coping in a Crisis This fifth podcast in the CBT for Low Mood series focuses on those times when you’re feeling most desperate, hopeless or overwhelmed, offering some practical suggestions for how to cope and look after yourself during a mental health crisis. Jonathan Totman 07 Feb 2022
4 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 4: A Tool for Dealing with Worry and Rumination This fourth podcast focuses on two patterns of thinking that often come with low mood and depression: worry and rumination. Jonathan Totman 18 Jan 2021
3 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 3: Rules for living (and how to break them) This third podcast focuses on the implicit “rules” affecting how you think and behave, helping you to spot when they’re serving you well and when they might be overly rigid or exacting. Jonathan Totman 18 Jan 2021
2 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 2: six troublesome thoughts and how to respond This second CBT podcast focuses on the "C" of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), looking at ways in which low mood and depression can affect your thinking and introducing the key cognitive techniques of thought monitoring and thought challenging. Jonathan Totman, Oxford University Counselling Service 15 Oct 2020
1 Introducing CBT for low mood and depression 1: doing more of what matters to you This first episode on CBT looks at some of the ways in which low mood and depression can manifest in students, and introduces a central cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) strategy known as "behavioural activation". Jonathan Totman, Oxford University Counselling Service 15 Oct 2020