Welcome to the British Society for Immunology's wellbeing page. This resource has been developed in order to help support you during the coronavirus pandemic and emergency. It is more important than ever before to look after your wellbeing and mental health and the resources and links below should help you do this. You will find a variety of topics from how to effectively work from home to coping strategies during the lockdown. The page is designed for any laboratory-based scientists who are now working from home or redeployed elsewhere, with a particular emphasis on early career researchers (ECRs).
We will regularly update and add to this resource over the coming weeks and months. Please spread the word about it to your friends and colleagues and any suggestions for additions to the page are more than welcome. Please contact our Education & Careers Officer, Eolan Healy or tag us @britsocimm.
BSI Career Development Webinar: Your wellbeing during the COVID-19 period
The session took place on Tuesday 2 June 2020 and was presented by Executive Coach, Alexis Hutson. A recording is available for BSI members to watch here.
Wellbeing and mental health:
- The mental health charity Mind give a comprehensive overview of coronavirus and your wellbeing in this article.
- University College London’s Human Resources department has provided these useful resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Many employers including universities now offer Employee Assistance Programmes, where you can get emotional support and advice on practical issues. A good example is Care First, used by universities such as UCL.
- The Samaritans have set up a coronavirus emergency appeal to tackle their biggest ever challenge. You can also call them free on 116 123 for advice and support.
- Check out the NHS page for mental health and wellbeing, with useful advice during the lockdown.
- The NHS Every Mind Matters initiative has specific resources around coping with the worry of coronavirus.
- Action for Happiness is a movement that looks to build a more caring society. They have specific tools to help you during the current crisis.
- TES have a useful resource hub to help you cope during the lockdown.
- Seven steps to manage your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak – a very insightful and practical guide from Nature on the steps you can take to cope better during the pandemic.
- BSI member, John Tregoning has some creative ways to maintain good mental health in academia – pop songs! This article is taken from John’s own blog, drtregoning.blogspot.com
- Why not follow the lead of the BSI staff team and create weekly themed Spotify playlists that everyone can add to and enjoy as the week progresses.
- The Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity MQ have a published a report in The Lancet Psychiatry on the research into mental health and brain science in the context of the pandemic response. Here’s five things to know.
- Check out Project 5, a free wellbeing support service for healthcare workers.
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have created this useful hub to help you maintain your wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- For guided meditation and mindfulness why not check apps such Headspace and Calm.
- If you are trying to cope with depression and/or anxiety then a proven method that has worked for millions worldwide is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Check out this guide from the NHS.
- Another useful guide to CBT and to many other therapies comes from the getselfhelp website. It has worksheets, information sheets and self-help MP3's to download.
- The University of Exeter has an excellent and widely referenced section on mental health for helping support students, especially new undergraduates. It includes free downloadable workbooks and case studies.
- Similarly, Yale University in the USA has a wide range of resources for students at all levels. It has especially good resources for students in quarantine.
- Mental Health First Aid Training is a fast developing initiative that started in Australia and is now around the world including the UK. Check out this guide to it and start training up both yourself and your staff.
- As part of our career development webinar series the BSI did a specific webinar on wellbeing with executive coach and mentoring expert Alexis Hutson.
- The RSB Policy Lates had a meeting on the biology of mental health.
- Check out WHO's webpage on World Mental Health Day 2020.
- Wellcome did a report into what researchers think about the culture they work in. Check it out here where it details matters around anxiety, bullying and workload.
- UKRI have this interesting webpage on how the research community is working to help our mental health.
- Here the NHS has a resource detailing how you can get support from a range of different mental health charities.
- Check out the reflective group run by the charity Safeground. These therapeutic sessions will allow you to think about your relationships, experiences and emotions.
Working from home:
- Jobs site, Monster offer a top ten on how to make working from home work for you.
- Buzzfeed have an as ever entertaining run down of ways to increase your productivity while working from home.
- The BBC offers a short and simple overview of what to do while working from home.
- This is UCL’s guide to remote working with useful tools for best practice.
- Check out Mind’s useful checklist for working from home.
- BSI member John Tregoning has started a weekly diary with Nature, that focuses on the adjustments that scientists are having to make while working away from the lab.
- BBC's Science focus magazine list 10 science-backed tips to help you work from home.
- Here are 30 tips from 30 people on how to effectively work from home.
- Check out BiteSized Immunology, our online resource that helps breakdown all the fundamental areas of immunology into short and concise articles.
- Our partners, the Royal Society of Biology have an excellent section on education during the COVID-19 pandemic that would be useful for schools, students and parents.
- Check out Imperial College London's Covid-19 lockdown lessons. A new series of webinars live streamed on YouTube focusing on how scientists have responded to the pandemic. Suitable for ages 16-18.
- The BSI has an extensive careers section on our website with a wide range of resources and tools to help you develop your career further.
- Check out the BSI jobs board for some of the latest vacancies in the world of immunology.
- The BSI also advertises funding opportunities that lists current grants and schemes by other societies, associations and organisations.
- Nature Careers - one of the world’s leading sources of information for all things related to careers in the science and medical fields.
- In 2017 the BSI undertook a careers review of the field of immunology in the UK, providing a snapshot of the immunology workforce in order to create a platform for further research and investigation.
- Check out the BSI’s Guides and Resources section tailored for both undergraduates and postgraduates.
- Coping with change is an important skill to gain in furthering your career. Mind Tools’ transition model to doing just that is a must for anyone.
- The BSI undertook a webinar series supporting career development in 2020. Why not check it out and gain insights into many topics from grant writing to public engagement and on to publishing a paper.
Early Career Researchers (ECRs):
- Three steps to career success: a webinar series for early career researchers – In February 2020, the BSI joined forces with the Physiological Society to organise a three-part webinar series for early career researchers (ECRs). The series was designed to help build the soft skills needed by ECRs, providing expert insights into:
- Building resilience – Cecilia Johannsson and John Tregoning
- Networking & building an online presence – Dan Brayson
- Transitioning to independence – Viki Male
- Mentoring is a very useful approach to help those in the early stages of their career or to get through difficult situations and times. The BSI is now in its third year of running a mentoring scheme, in which a ECR is paired with a senior researcher in the field of immunology. Some universities offer their own mentoring schemes as do other societies or academies such as the one offered by the Academy of Medical Sciences. We would advise you to look up the scheme in your institution for support at this time. Also check out this useful guide to mentoring during the COVID-19 crisis from Nature.
- Executive coach, Alexis Hutson, who works regularly with the BSI, has created this useful guide to supporting mentoring relationships during the lockdown period.