Student Wellbeing Champion, Tamzin, discusses creative ways to speak about your mental health and improve your wellbeing.
I’m one of over a hundred Student Wellbeing Champions (trained students who offer peer to peer support around campus and via online instant messaging) and reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health is something we’re all passionate about.
On National Time to Talk Day (1 February) last week, the whole-university mental health campaign, #LetsShare, was launched. The campaign aims to help to beat mental health stigma and discrimination, by encouraging staff and students to talk about mental health with ease, and free from fear, stigma or worry.
The campaign centres around 5 main messages, and I created a piece of artwork to express each of these for the Launch night.
Speak about your mental health
Help others to talk about their mental health
Access support for mental health
Recognise language is important when it comes to mental health
Expect small things to make a big difference
Behind the artwork…
Self-care is so important within today’s society when it comes to mental health and I consider creating artwork, as well as writing, to be forms of self-care.
To be able to put what is inside your head into a physical, tangible painting or drawing is amazing, and whether it’s for yourself or for others, there’s no doubt that creating artwork is a rewarding experience. Artwork can be incredibly expressive and if you cannot find the words to let someone know how you are feeling, illustrating the emotions onto some paper can be incredibly therapeutic. I used to have concerns over my artwork not being good enough, but art is subjective. Often the imperfect pieces mean just as much, because I still spent time on them and they are still my personal creations. If it helped to take your mind off things, it’s priceless no matter what.
Creating artwork is something that many people utilise to express their feelings and it’s clear why. If I’m having a day where I don’t particularly like myself, to draw something which I’m proud of makes me feel so much better, and anything that is going to lift your spirits when you’re down is something worth doing.
My top tips for self-care
When my mind is feeling particularly hectic I tend to put away all screens and social media and do something I would consider worthwhile, such as: baking, listening to music, reading, drawing or writing. Having a creative outlet such as drawing or writing seems to be immensely helpful in clearing my head and making me feel calmer. The focus and effort that is required to create something, not only distracts your mind from any stresses, it also makes you feel in control, if only over something as small as a pencil. This control seems to help me feel more grounded.
What’s on Your Mind? Let’s Share more about mental health
The #LetsShare Campaign is all about encouraging us all to share more about mental health so that we can improve our wellbeing and help break down stigma.
Watch our #LetsShare video, featuring Cardiff University students and staff, who have been brave enough to speak about their own personal experiences of mental health, in support of the Campaign.
Students have also shared their experiences in a series of blogs:
Thank you to the Cardiff University students and staff involved for their bravery in helping to break mental health stigma and discrimination.
We are a Time to Change pledged employer and are working together to change how we all think and act about mental health.
Join our Time to Change Steering Groups and make a difference
- Student Working Group – led by students, this group meets regularly to discuss campus culture relating to mental health and to explore ideas for reducing stigma
- Staff Steering Group – meets regularly to discuss mental-health related policies, initiatives, development and ideas for continual improvements.
To join a group or for further information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamzin, Student Wellbeing Champion.
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.