Our Mental Health Week: Julie Hurst

Julie Hurst, Senior Information Assistant, Student Services Information Desk, shares her mental health experience after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Julie Hurst

In April 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38. The diagnosis and treatment had a profound impact on my mental health, bringing new fears, anxieties and stress that I had never experienced before, along with a loss in confidence in my ability to do my job after seven months on sick leave.

I discovered an amazing network of support groups and charities and have learnt many strategies to keep myself on an even keel, and would recommend these to anyone struggling with their mental health - mindfulness, coping with anxiety and worry, relaxation techniques, Headspace app, managing energy levels, to name but a few. I have also learnt that, by being open about my own mental health, others who I work with have come forward to tell me of their own struggles, opening my eyes to the fact that this is not something to be hidden, nor is it right to make assumptions about someone who may be having many personal issues.

For anyone struggling, I would recommend visiting the IAPT website as they have a whole range of free courses and online support materials.

My top tip: remember that it's OK to not be OK, and admitting it doesn't mean that not being OK will last forever - if anything it is the path to feeling OK again.

Julie has set up a Cancer Support Network for staff at the University. The network is available for anyone who has a cancer experience they wish to share. The group is an informal support network for drop-ins and to meet others.

The next meeting in on Tues 22 October at 9.15 - 10.15am in View Room 6 at the Students' Union.

For more information contact Julie Hurst, j.a.hurst@sheffield.ac.uk.