Everybody hurts – know your online health resources

 I doubt I am the only one who has tried to self-diagnose myself on the internet and ended up with an imaginary death sentence.  Unfortunately, a short HTML course is all it takes for someone to put up their own health website on the Web. Luckily at Ara we have an array of authoritative online resources that can provide the type of answers that will bring a smile to your tutor’s face and a pass mark to your assignment. (Sorry they contain no funny cat videos) Let me introduce you to an example of what databases you can access 24/7 through your library:

  • CINAHL with Full Text (EBSCO) – Covers nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines;
  • Cochrane Library – A collection of evidence-based medicine databases;
  • Health and Wellness Resource Center – Authoritative information on health issues. Includes professional level material;
  • Joanna Briggs Institute – Systematic reviews, evidence summaries, and best practice information sheets for nursing and the allied health professions;
  • ScienceDirect – Includes selected health & life science, as well as physical science titles.


Remember don’t let Doctor Google give you the answers. Instead seek out information that has been peer reviewed and passed through editorial gatekeepers. If you get a little bit stuck trying to find resources then start with your subject guide which is your one stop shop to all the information your education could possibly desire.

Blog by Colleen Finnerty, Knowledge Advisor


We are now 101 years on from the first Anzac Day commemorations in 1916. These services were held on the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 1915.

Anzac Day 1916, Petone
Anzac Day 1916, Petone (Photo: Archives New Zealand, AAVK W3493 E8206)

Over the decades, Anzac Day has changed. Services have become more secular, and now involve many families and community groups along with former and serving members of the armed forces. The first Anzac Day services were held in churches and halls. As memorials were built throughout the 1920s, many services – particularly dawn services – moved outdoors.

More wars have happened (and are happening), and we now remember those who served and died in the Second World War, Malaya, Korea, Vietnam, and many others, along with UN peacekeeping missions. Over the years Anzac Day has been the focus of anti-war, anti-nuclear, and anti-violence protests. It has been commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders all over the world, including Gallipoli. New migrant New Zealanders commemorate their own histories of war and sacrifice.

For more on the history of Anzac Day, NZ History has a good article.

Anzac Day can mean many things. For some, it is a time to remember a relative or friend who died. For others, it is a time to reflect on the futility of war. For others, it is a time to gather as a community and remember what people have fought and died for.

Whatever Anzac Day means to you, I encourage you to attend a service at least once. There are lots happening in and around Christchurch, Timaru, Ashburton, and Oamaru.

Ara libraries will be closed for Anzac Day on Tuesday, 25th April.



Easter Weekend

The long Easter Weekend is almost upon us, and the Library will be closed from Thursday 13th April at 8pm and reopens on Wednesday 19th of April at 7am. There will  be 24 hour access to computers and printers in the Pod, situated in the Rakaia Centre. To access this you will require a current student card.

For some students, the Easter break will coincide with the term break, and we wish you a relaxing holiday. However, should you wish to spend some of that time studying the Library will be open (except for the Easter Weekend) for all your study needs.

Information on Easter Events, both in Christchurch and Timaru can be found at Eventfinda. If you’re feeling like creating a quick and easy chocolatey treat in the form of an Easter Bird’s Nest with just 3 ingredients; noodles, chocolate and mini Easter Eggs follow the instructions at this link.

A colleague introduced us to an Easter tradition from her country of origin this week, and made a Bolo do Coelho (The Bunny Cake) – it was delicious! Thanks for sharing Silvia!


World Health Day

Today’s blog is brought to you by Susan Woods, Ara Health Centre Manager

The theme for the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression, and as today is World Health Day, it is timely to reflect on how important good health means to each of us, and Susan addresses issues of depression as well as tips on keeping ourselves healthy.

Depression is very common.  It is estimated 1 in 5 of us will suffer some depressive episode at some point in our lives.  It essential we talk openly about depression, the symptoms experienced and importance of reaching out for help.

Common symptoms include :

  • General low mood that persists beyond 2 weeks and isn’t just a response to a normal life event, such as a bereavement or disappointment.
  • Fatigue, lack of energy and motivation
  • Sleeping more than usual or having difficulty sleeping
  • Sadness and general feeling of hopelessness
  • Unable to function normally in daily life – i.e work, home, study activities
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities and relationships that were previously a source of pleasure and comfort.

There are many supports for people suffering from depression.  Depression.org website is a great place to start and provides some very useful and reassuring information   Also, seeing your GP and talking over how you have been feeling is essential as is talking with family and friends. Referral to a counsellor can be arranged by your GP or you can self-refer.  A course of medication may sometimes be suggested by your GP.

Ara Health Centre offers free counselling to students and the nurses and GP are also available to help and support you.

Remember, you are not alone.  You will get better with the right support and treatment so please, reach out for it.

Keeping helathy

It is natural and normal for all of us to suffer some illness throughout our life, as we all are vulnerable to contracting viruses, infections and accidents, for example,  but there is much we can do to minimise our risk of serious illness through adopting healthy lifestyles.  Each of us is able to achieve good health, physically and mentally by following some basic principles to help us achieve optimum health and happiness.

  • Eating a wholesome diet, whole foods based around plants – i.e veg, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds.  Eat healthy fats contained in foods such as avocado, nuts/seeds, oily fish and use olive oil for salad dressings.  Eat low fat protein, wholegrain carbohydrates and limit foods containing added sugar.  Wholefoods contain vital nutrients to enable our bodies to function at its best.
  • Be active. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get fit and healthy. Walking is fantastic for health and is free and easy to do.
  • Limit alcohol intake to the recommended maximum intake : women – no more than 10 standard drinks a week and men – no more than 15 standard drinks.  A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol.  All bottles and cans of alcoholic drink  are labelled with how many SD they contain.  Two days of the week should be alcohol free.
  • Quit smoking tobacco.  The detrimental effects of tobacco on health are well known.  There is a lot of help and support for smokers to quit  – through your GP/Practice Nurse or by calling Quitline.
  • Evidence shows that connection with others is vitally important for both physical and mental health.  Make time to develop relationships and cherish the close bonds you have with the important people in your life.
  • Minimise stress as much as you can.  Learn how to be mindful;  take a look at the vast amount of information on the web about mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice has been proven to reduce stress and mental illness.
  • If you are feeling inspired to make some changes to your life style, for example, increasing activity levels, start by making simple, small changes as these are much more sustainable and can be built on gradually to amount to bigger, more permanent changes – such as deciding one week to reduce sugar intake by cutting out biscuits, for instance or deciding to stop eating anything with added sugar
  • Set small, explicit, achievable weekly goals in relation to diet and fitness – i.e  walk for 2 x 30 minutes session in the park/along beach etc –  so satisfying when you reach them.  Then set another slightly bigger goal the week after and so on.

Finally, ensure screening tests are up to date, cervical screening, breast screening, and vaccinations – seasonal flu vaccines for example.

Remember, your precious body and mind are the only ones you will ever have, treat them well – Susan Woods

The Library has many resources on physical and mental health, diet, exercise and well being. Use our catalogue – Primo Library Search to find many resources on these topics – including Nutrition for health, fitness, & sport.

Happy World Health Day