Tuesday 30 January 2018

How editing my students’ newspaper helps my mental health

Emily writes about how taking on editorial positions has boosted her confidence and mental health.
- Emily Maybanks 

Since the beginning of my final year at Swansea University in September 2017, I have been the Creative Writing Section Editor for the Swansea University students’ newspaper – the Waterfront – and since November, I have also been one of two Deputy Editors. The Waterfront newspaper has been such a huge part of my life at university; I’ve been writing for the paper since my second year. The Waterfront has been hugely beneficial for my mental health in a variety of ways, especially since beginning my editorial positions. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for several years, but for the first time, I’ve found something I am genuinely passionate about and something that I am slowly improving on.

  • Firstly, editing for the Waterfront has given me chance and confidence to meet new people, and to reach out to new people. One of the biggest things I’ve done for the Waterfront is interview the singer Calum Scott in Cardiff last October. 
  • Secondly, the Waterfront has given me a reason to get up in the mornings, when my mental health has been particularly bad or when university has been more stressful. Being able to go and work on designing the Waterfront or putting an online article together often calms me right down and leaves me feeling positive. 
  • Editing, as well as writing, for the Waterfront has also given me so many new skills and new experiences. The aforementioned interview that I did is an example of this. I have also gained experience using new software to learn how the paper is put together each month, and I’ve run a content meeting. 
  • Fourthly, I’ve been able to use the Waterfront as a platform to write about and share my experiences of mental health. I believe that this is important because I’ve been able to offer advice and support and reassurance to other students who may be struggling with mental health. 
  • Finally, I have gained so much self-confidence through my editorial experiences and positions. Having always been someone who has struggled enormously with my self-confidence and self-esteem, the Waterfront has had such a positive impact on my mental health and my confidence levels. 

Getting involved with a student media platform – whether it is your students’ newspaper, or your University’s radio station – is something I would very much recommend for anyone looking to improve their mental health. What can start off as a very positive hobby can often lead to new prospects and open new doors.  I can 100% say that getting involved with the Waterfront newspaper at Swansea University has been one of the best choices I’ve made during my degree. The positive impact that it has had on my mental health surprises me sometimes.

My name is Emily (Em). I am currently in my final year studying Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting at Swansea University, where I'm also the Creative Writing Section Editor and Deputy Editor for The Waterfront - Swansea's student newspaper. I wanted to write for Student Minds because I have experienced depression and anxiety as well as other health issues, and I support friends who have also experienced mental health difficulties. I am also a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences - both in helping me to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help others.

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