University of Leicester Students Pledge To Promote Mental Health In 2012

Posted by pt91 at Jan 13, 2012 11:06 AM |
Campaign sees universities working alongside to improve student wellbeing

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 13 January 2012

Students at the University of Leicester have been recognised by a national organisation aiming to make university campuses healthier, happier places for students. The students will work alongside 24 other universities during 2012 to promote mental health around campus through events and campaigns.

The national campaign, aptly named ‘25by2012’, was launched with the aim of making university campuses, healthier, happier places for students to live and study, by encouraging student-led activism. It has been supported by national organisations such as Action for Happiness, Young Minds, and the £20m anti-stigma project, Time to Change, as well as dozens of universities.

The campaign was launched by Mental Wealth UK, a non-profit body that was setup to support student-led mental health and wellbeing advocacy. Edward Pinkney, who founded Mental Wealth UK after launching a student wellbeing society at the University of Leeds in 2008, said, “More and more students are stepping forward to take leadership roles at their universities. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ new report highlights the threats to student mental health and wellbeing, and with university resources stretched, we believe that student-led initiatives are going to play an increasingly important role in tackling these challenges.”

The University of Leicester is twelfth of twenty five Mental Wealth UK groups dedicated towards the cause. Suzi Burtenshaw, Welfare and International Officer at the University says, "The University of Leicester Students’ Union is really excited to announce the creation of the Mental Wealth society. Our main aims are to remove the stigma of mental illnesses and promote positive wellbeing on campus. The support of students wishing to get involved with the Mental Wealth society has been amazing and we are really excited to start campaigning on campus!"

Mental Wealth UK has been supported by Action for Happiness, Time to Change, The Matthew Elvidge Trust, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Nightline and Leeds Metropolitan University, amongst others. Sally Wood, the coordinator for Nightline, adds, “With student mental health threatened, we think that this campaign is coming at exactly the right time. We’re delighted to support the 25by2012 campaign and the vital work that Mental Wealth UK is doing in our student communities”.

The campaign and the successes of each of the groups will be celebrated at an event in Leeds on 28th January. This will be an opportunity for the groups to reflect upon 2011, and also to look ahead at the campaigns and events that are in store for 2012. An award sponsored by the Matthew Elvidge Trust will be recognising notable contributions to campus mental health by groups.

The groups have been formed at universities across the UK, including St Andrews, Southampton, Swansea, and Sunderland. Each of them aims to ‘bring mental health out of the shadows’ by challenging discrimination, raising awareness, and providing students with opportunities for training and skill-building. Groups in Manchester and Cardiff were recognised at the 2011 national NUS awards, with one of the leading members of the Manchester group, Tayaba Nicholson, being awarded NUS Student of the Year for her campaigning. Harriet Wickson, a 3rd year psychology student and leader of the ‘Mental Wealth Matters’ Society at Sheffield University stated: "We are really excited about being a part of Mental Wealth UK and the opportunities it will bring. We already have a growing committee and there are a lot of students showing a keen interest in getting involved to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The Society is looking forward to the year ahead and carrying out fun and exciting campaigns and fundraising events with the help of our wonderful Mental Health Matters Elephant.”

The ‘25by2012’ campaign was introduced following a report released by the Royal College of Psychiatrists published in September, which suggested that “social changes such as the withdrawal of financial support, higher rates of family breakdown and, more recently, economic recession all have an impact on the mental health and well-being of students. As such, many counsellors and mental health advisors in universities are reporting increased demand from students for their services.” The report highlighted the “pressing need” for more mental health promotion on campuses.

Information

Mental Wealth UK is a student organisation committed to promoting positive wellbeing on university campuses. The organisation provides inspiration and support to a network of student Mental Wealth groups. It is currently the only national organisation dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of university students. The organisation won an Unltd Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010, and has been supported by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, the Matthew Elvidge Trust, HEFCE, and Leeds Metropolitan University, amongst others. For more information visit www.mentalwealthuk.com

Contact: Edward Pinkney 07904787969, e.pinkney@mentalwealthuk.com

Related information:

● The report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists is titled ‘Mental Health of Students in Higher Education’ and available here: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/publications/collegereports/cr/cr166.aspx

● More information about the 2011 national NUS awards can be found here: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/awards/2011/

● Time to Change is a £10m campaign that aims to end mental health discrimination. It has been supported by Stephen Fry, and Ruby Wax, amongst others: www.time-to-change.org

● Action for Happiness is a charity that aims to build a movement of people committed to creating a happier society. The charity was founded by Lord Layard, and has been endorsed by, amongst others, the Dalai Lama: www.actionforhappiness.org.

● Nightline provides a confidential listening, emotional support, information and supplies service, run by students for students at their university. They work to improve student mental health and wellbeing and are open at night when no other university welfare services are available.

● Leeds Metropolitan University runs an award-winning Wellbeing Programme: : www.mywellbeing.org

● The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust aims to raise awareness of depression, reduce stigma, and promote mental well-being. One of their projects is Students Against Depression, a website that features information about depression and blogs from students affected by the condition: www.cwmt.org / www.studentdepression.org

● The Matthew Elvidge Trust is committed to tackling depression in young people: www.thematthewelvidgetrust.com

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