Revealing stories of health and wellbeing in our community

  • Date

    Fri 15 May 20

Woman doing leg stretch exercises against a tree

The latest book in the Essex Reader series, which includes contributions from students and staff, reveals just how central health and wellbeing are to our community.

Health and Wellbeing – the University of Essex Reader brings together chapters on personal experiences, research and teaching. With the country marking national Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) this month, it's a timely reminder of the importance of health and wellbeing.

The book, which is currently available on the Research Repository or on Amazon, has been co-edited by Dr Ilaria Boncori, from Essex Pathways, and Professor Tracey Loughran from the Department of History. It will also be available in the Library.

Dr Boncori explained why now, more than ever, looking after our health and wellbeing is so important: “The coronavirus outbreak poses new challenges and often exacerbates existing ones, enhancing inequalities for various groups of people.

“It’s important to give voice to different experiences, advance our research and understand the support available within and across our communities.”

The book discusses various topics including the impact of sport and yoga on wellbeing, economic and legal issues in relation to disability, and personal and academic experiences of life events such as miscarriage and eating disorders.

It includes contributions from 11 members of academic and professional services staff, and four from students.

Dr Ilaria Boncori
"Nothing is more important than health and wellbeing, and this is perhaps more apparent than ever in the current situation."
Dr Ilaria Boncori Essex Pathways

Dr Nileema Vaswani, Counselling Manager in the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service, co-wrote a chapter, called ‘Fifteen’, on baby loss with Dr Boncori.

She said: “This was an opportunity to offer not only complementary personal and professional perspectives on baby loss but also acknowledge how those of us in support roles are changed by the work we do.

“Based on previous work in bereavement support, ‘Fifteen’ highlights the importance of enabling positive mental health by recognising and exploring our experiences, all of which is vital to our work in supporting students and staff.”

Professor Martyna Sliwa, from Essex Business School, contributed a chapter about yoga. She said: "Work is an important part of life, and it’s integral to it: what happens at work influences how we feel and relate to the world outside work, whereas how we feel and relate to the world influences what and how we can accomplish at work.

"I wanted to be part of this great project as it has given me the opportunity to reflect on and share what the practice of yoga has done for my mental and physical health, as well as my academic practice over the years. It’s absolutely imperative that we should take health and wellbeing more seriously. Doing what we can to stay well in the mind and the body is crucial to our ability to lead satisfying lives, and to deal with situations we have little control over, such as the current pandemic."

It is the third book in the Essex Reader series, which aims to bring together members of the Essex community to give voice to different perspectives on important issues for our University and society in general. The previous two books were LGBT Perspectives and Race, Ethnicity and Inclusion.

Summing up, Dr Boncori said: “Nothing is more important than health and wellbeing, and this is perhaps more apparent than ever in the current situation.”