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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

#DOCtober

October is getting us closer to the winter solstice, one day at a time. The days are becoming shorter and the nights longer. We have entered the new academic year with continued uncertainty about what lies ahead for us, around us and in the world at large. 
 
This Saturday (10 October) is World Mental Health Day. To mark the day, the University has launched a couple of initiatives. We have signed up to the chat forum Togetherall, available 24/7, and monitored by trained clinicians. Once you’ve signed up, it’s a safe place online to get things off your chest, have conversations, express yourself creatively and learn how to manage your mental health. Members of Togetherall are anonymous. Members report feeling better and more able to cope as a result of using the service because it is available around the clock. Any member of staff or students can use this resource, you just need to sign in online using your soton.ac.uk email.
 
This Saturday is also is World Porridge Day, and this week is National Curry Week. October is a busy month. It is Black History MonthBreast Cancer Awareness Month and Go Sober for October. Did you know it is also Pituiary Awareness month, Lupus Awareness month, ADHD Awareness monthUnblocktober (reducing plastic entering seas and rivers), and The Big Draw (promoting visual literacy and art education)?
 
What all these campaigns have in common? Education and connection. Regardless of the cause, the interest, or the initiative, they are meant to prompt conversations and dialogues among people, to learn from each other and be there for one another. They are meant to make a difference. To prompt this question: What will I do differently? Whom could I reach out to? What will we do differently that will positively affect others? What can we do differently to positively affect those around us?
 
I am inviting you to get in touch with the Doctoral College, via DCComms@soton.ac.uk, to let us know what you would like us to raise awareness about this DOCtober. What it means to be a doctoral research student in unprecedented times? What difference can we make to positively affect your doctoral experience? I'll also be inviting you to join us at one of our DOCtober Road Shows to be held on Tuesday 20 October, 13:00-14:00 and Wednesday 21 October, 11:00-12:00. More on those shortly.
 
Aline Giordano, Doctoral College Manager
a.c.giordano@soton.ac.uk
 
Twitter: @UoSDocCollege  #DOCtober  

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