Marios, Student Wellbeing Champion tells us all about University Mental Health Day and the theme this year – Use Your Voice.
Thursday 7 of March 2019 is ‘University Mental Health Day’ and Cardiff University could not be any less of a great supporter of this year’s message “Use Your Voice”.
What is the University Mental Health Day?
University Mental Health Day is the most important day of the year for student mental health, bringing together the student community to make mental health a university-wide priority, to talk more openly and eliminate stigma around mental health and to create ongoing change to the future of student mental health. This year’s message highlights the use of our voice.
Why is the message “Use Your Voice” important?
Mental Health is something that affects everyone in our everyday life and does not discriminate in any sense. We have all experienced difficulties and low points and this is one of the reasons why we should use our voice and talk openly, without fear or prejudice, since these experiences affect everyone.
The media has sometimes been influencing this situation with headlines often including ‘generation snowflake’ or ‘vulnerable young people in crisis’, which not only does not help young people, but it also puts even more pressure on them to avoid talking about mental health and lock themselves behind closed doors.
Being at university can raise a number of unique challenges to student mental health and wellbeing – many students seem to be reporting clinical levels of psychological distress. Unfortunately, during university, there has been observed an increase in the severity of distress and mental health issues in young people and that is why we need to take action.
Cardiff University’s Action
The University, through the Wellbeing and Counselling Team, has launched a campaign called #LetsShare which aims to encourage students and staff to talk openly about any issues around mental health, away from worry, fear or stigma. This campaign and its purpose links perfectly with the overall message of the University Mental Health Day, which is to use our voice and talk about mental health. SHARE has become an acronym for a range of actions that this campaign promotes:
Speak about your mental health
Help others to talk about their mental health
Access support for mental health
Recognise language is important
Expect small things to make a big difference.
This campaign has contributed vastly to the raising of awareness around mental health issues, encouraging students and staff to feel free to talk about mental health in a supportive environment.
On this University Mental Health Day we want to bring together the university community to make mental health a topic for discussion away from stereotypes and prejudice.
Students and members of staff best understand the challenges that university holds and are the most appropriate people to address such issues.
Let’s all join in this years University Mental Health Day and make this the start of sharing experiences, empowering and inspiring people around us.
Things you can do to make this day amazing!
- ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’ as Aesop stated. Every little act counts! Even a bright smile can help. Ask those around you ‘how are you feeling today?’ and go for a catch-up walk or coffee!
- Use your voice this #UniMentalHealthDay and join a movement of people sharing their experiences to shape the future of student mental health.
- Take a look at the University Mental Health Day website and find out more about the campaign.
- Speak to a Wellbeing Champion – they are an amazing team of student volunteers who are trained on issues around student mental health and would be more than happy to help at any moment – even if it’s only a casual chat!
- Search for ‘wellbeing’ on the intranet to find any resources you need and visit the #LetsShare campaign page for more information.
The National University Mental Health Charter
The University Mental Health Charter is a scheme being developed by Student Minds which aims to make student and staff mental health a university-wide priority at universities across the UK. Student Minds want to hear what you think are the biggest challenges facing student and staff mental health and how we can all work together to do better.
There are two ways you can get involved.
Student Minds Road Trip
Cardiff University are excited to be hosting a consultation event with Student Minds which will bring together university leaders, staff and students from across the region to have their say on the future of mental wellbeing at university. Together, we will answer the question “If universities had the ideal approach to mental health, what would it look like and how would we know?”
All students, whether they have a history of mental health or not, can attend. We are also keen to hear from student leaders.
For more information and to register to attend your nearest event, click here.
Student Minds Survey
All students are invited to take part in a survey to help shape the University Mental Health Charter. The survey asks a range of questions relating to your experience and perceptions of mental wellbeing whilst working and studying at university, and gives you space to share your thoughts and ideas on what the Charter should look like.
There are two surveys, one for students and one for university leaders and staff. We want to hear from all students and student leaders to have their say through the student survey.
For more information and to complete the survey, click here.
Mental health is something that affects everyone. Speak to your friends and family and be aware that you can access professional help available by the university.
Take care of yourself and Use Your Voice to speak about issues of mental health. These issues involve our emotions and we should be proud, not ashamed of them.
Let’s all join this campaign and make the student community a stronger and unified community away from mental health stigma.
Written by Marios, Student Wellbeing Champion
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.