In spring 2011, this concept came out of Birmingham University.
The University of Birmingham Disabled Students’ Officer (DSO) and Disability and Mental Health Students Association (DAMSA) are organising a Mental Health Awareness event for March 23rd and 24th 2011. March 23rd will be an introduction to mental health, where student groups will be running discussion events to help people learn more about what mental health is, before the main event on 24th: ‘How’s your mental health today?’
We hope that by taking this event onto campus as well as the Guild, we can reach every student on campus and promote the idea that everybody, not just those who define as having a mental health problem, has a mental health which needs caring for. This will help students to see the enhancement of mental health as part of a healthy lifestyle, both inside and outside of campus life.
To promote mental health care, we have teamed up with many university and student run support services and activities on campus will include, but not be limited to:
Yoga taster session and Thrive (nutrition) workshop by the Munrow Sports Centre
Body Image workshop by the Women’s Association
Meditation with the Chaplaincy and Interfaith groups
Stress management workshop by University Counselling and Guidance
Introduction to Alternative Therapies by Well Naturally
Tours of the Winterbourne Botanical Gardens and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts to show students ‘safe’ quiet spaces on campus
A Nightline (student volunteer group) listening post
Coffee and cakes with DAMSA
Screening and discussion of a mental health film produced by the Guild TV society
In addition, the University has a mental health awareness officer who has contacts with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health trust, and we are hoping that the trust and staff from the new mental health hospital will also come onto campus.
We hope that the benefits of such a day will encourage all students to engage in activities which will improve their mental health, as well as meet people and societies which will offer new friendship groups. We strongly believe that peer support is of utmost importance when it comes to mental health care, and a clear show of support on campus will help students to realise that all people have a mental health to take care of! When students realise that they have both professional and peer support on campus, this will give students more focus on mental wellbeing, making people happier and redirecting those who would otherwise have considered suicide, while those who continue to contemplate suicide will know where they can find support.
Although most of the activities will not require funding as they are student-led, we will not be able to promote this event outside of the Guild and reach the full 28,000 university students without help towards advertising costs. We need to promote this event to students through marketing (posters, banners, flyers, t-shirts and electronic messages and bulletins) on all campuses and halls of residence, to spread a message of mental wellbeing.
Manchester Mental Wealth Matters believed in the positive value of film, and wanted to launch a series of events to stimulate discussion and promote wellbeing.
The ‘Free Film Night’, run by Mental Wealth Matters, has been running for two months now. It has raised the profile of the Group within the Student’s Union, as well as attracting a wide variety of people – undergraduate, postgraduate, staff, locals – to watch a film and take part in a discussion afterward. It serves as a monthly lynchpin to the group, along with the committee meetings, to keep up a sense of progress and achievement.
We want to show a variety of films – from films that challenge people, through to comedies and romances – as long as we feel there is some educational value, and the possibility to learn something about mental health and ways to promote positive wellbeing.
For example, for the first film in October, 50 people came to watch ‘The Virgin Suicides’, and 20 stayed for the discussion on the representation of suicide in the media. The discussion allowed people to air their views in a safe space, and to learn from the opinions and experiences of others. In this way, the relationship between the film and the discussion, and the learning from the discussion itself, contribute to a broader understanding of the issues around mental health, student suicide and campus wellbeing.
The film was, we recognise, a contentious choice. However, we believe that, when done in a safe environment that encourages learning, the showing of such a film will stimulate debate and positive action, as opposed to influencing people negatively. It is the watching of the film in a group, strengthened by a facilitated discussion, that makes it safe and justifies its showing.
We hope also that the film night acts as a good ‘way in’ to the group, for those who would be put off by awareness-raising and publicity activities, thus inviting people who would otherwise not get involved. We want to be inclusive to all kinds of people who are good at all kinds of different things. We believe a broad range of initiatives will achieve this – the Film Night being key.
This is part of our broader aim of raising the profile of positive mental health in the student population in Manchester, and of reducing the stigma attached to suffering from mental health problems, as well as encouraging people to seek help from the appropriate places.
The funding will be used for the following specific purposes:
• To promote the Film Night, printing good quality posters that can be distributed around the Uni to get more people to come along, containing the MWUK and Papyrus logos, to show that we are receiving funding from, and working with, both organisations.
• To provide refreshments and food, to create an incentive for people to come, including home baking and hot drinks (especially over the winter!).
• To buy and rent films to watch.
Although these things can be achieved without a lot of money, the £300 we hope to gain from this will make a huge difference to the quality and quantity of the advertising we can put out. On a campus saturated with events, we need to find our voice and grab student’s attention with what we do. In that way, the aims of the Group can be widely disseminated and thought about.
Lastly, the Films are run with the full knowledge of the Welfare Officer at the Union, who supports our group, and links us to the formal structures of the University, including safeguarding procedures.
One of the award-winning ideas from 2011. We’ll post their viral video later !
We at Cardiff Mental Wealth want to provide students with a completely new experience to promote positive mental health. There is a time in all our lives when we are young, free and more often than not without serious emotional worries and the world is a plethora of explorative pleasures. We would like to offer students the opportunity to revisit this period in their lives and, in doing so, remind them of the more light-hearted and simple joys of life.
The event will be themed around the title ‘Get in Touch With Your Inner Child’. The university have this year introduced a health awareness day, of which mental health is a pivotal theme. They are looking for annual initiatives which can be replicated in future years, and are fully supportive of this event as part of that day. The timing of the event is such that many students will be going through the student’s union and will be able to participate in the activities.
We will be looking to bring in face painters, street performers, a bouncy castle, a ball pit and other professional entertainers for the day. We will also be running challenges revolving around Lego and Scalextric, and promoting creative expression through art. The idea is to encourage students to remember this period of developmental freedom and promote a feeling of self expression through nostalgic activities. Many of the activities will incur a cost, and without proper funding we would be far more limited in developing the event, and consequently the positive student impact we would hope to achieve. It would be preferable not to draw funds away from our publicity campaign which we’ve acquired through fundraising activities.
We feel that the activities will offer students a welcome break from the stresses and demands of university life that can manifest themselves as a more serious problem and potentially lead to student suicide in the long-term. The timing of the event will be especially appropriate given that it shortly follows the exam period, which is often a challenging time mentally and emotionally. We shall also be using the opportunity to engage with students about the concept of mental wealth and ways in which students can further understand and improve methods for good mental wellbeing. The event will be run by student volunteers who will be actively engaging with other students to make them aware of the service Mental Wealth provide and that numerous welfare organisations are available to them should they require it.
The event will be rigorously publicised both before and after to maintain continuity of the idea that positive mental wellbeing is achievable and that students should regularly consider ways of maintaining a healthy mental state.
A planned event from St Andrews in 2011. Maybe they will tell us how it went?
We are organising a day of events to promote wellbeing and mental health in St. Andrews. Mental Wealth Wednesday will take place on Wednesday 23rd February 2011. This will promote individual awareness of mental wealth and challenge stigma and silence surrounding mental health, in order to assert the support, caring and understanding that define our community. We aim to transform St. Andrews into a place where people can talk openly and comfortably to each other about their mental health, knowing that they will be treated fairly and considerately.
This project is conceived and led by students, including support volunteers and members of the Student Representative Council. We are working closely with staff from Student Services and sabbatical officers, and collaborating with student societies, the Athletic Union, local businesses and schools. The events aim to educate people about mental health and mental illness, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle to increase wellbeing. They include:
Laughter therapy workshop
Special Breakfasts in halls of residence
Film showings, provided by the Mental Health Foundation
Mental health awareness workshops, including suicide prevention, from Breathing Space
Chill out evening in a local cafe – including music, comedy and poetry
Events at our Sports Centre, promoting the importance of exercise for wellbeing.
Community Art Competition with the backing of a local artist.
We have been working to identify where funds are most required. Whilst we are applying for limited funding from our Student Representative Council, this will not be enough to realise the potential of Mental Wealth Wednesday. It is essential that we publicise our events and our message widely and effectively for this project to be a success. If given a Papyrus award, we would spend these funds on publicity. Our innovative publicity campaign will:
Attract people to our events
Challenge and change attitudes and
Promote the concept of Mental Wealth
Be designed by the group, at no cost
Feature an extensive poster campaign throughout University buildings and the town
Involve a give-away of pots of blowing bubbles, with information on them about our events and mental health more widely. Reflecting one of our key taglines: ‘Bursting the bubble of stigma and silence’.
Create material (designs, banners, posters and more) that will outlast the campaign and be reused for future Mental Wealth events, to help ensure the sustainability of the campaign.
Mental Wealth Wednesday will be a popular and innovative event, instrumental in promoting wellbeing in our community. It will create a conversation around mental health, and pave the way for future events and campaigns in St. Andrews. The quality and scale of our publicity will create a strong image and encourage high attendance at all events. It is through this that we are confident that we can change attitudes towards wellbeing; reduce the chance of students developing mental health difficulties; improve the experience of those who already suffer difficulties and so really change the lives of students at St. Andrews.
An idea for a mental health project put forward by Edinburgh University in 2011:
Last year worrying statistics were published by NUS Scotland concerning the number of students who felt stressed out and what the most common triggers student stress. In response to this report EUSA, and more specifically, the student welfare forum and disabled student action group, wanted to take action. During last semester, to coincide with our exam period, we published a mental wellbeing guide, which included lots of tips and ideas on how to de-stress. For the exam period this semester, we would like to re-run a mental health campaign and build on our efforts last semester.
EUSA would like to produce a few hundred ‘exam kits’ for students this semester. Our student helpline society ‘Nightline’ produced a similar product last year, but on a much smaller scale. We would like to both continue and extend this innovative project and reach hundreds of students who will be experiencing stressful exam revision.
The ‘exam kits’ will contain a mental wellbeing guide, exam revision guides as well as some light relief in the form of snacks, drinks and extra stationary. They will also contain a wide range of information from mental health charities, including Mental Wealth UK, and other organisation, such as NUS Scotland, the NHS LGBT organisations, internal student counseling services and suicide prevention charities, such as the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and the Samaritans. We have a large amount of valuable information we wish to distribute to students and funding will help us distribute resources in an appealing way. The ‘exam kits’ will package the information in a variety of ways including bookmarks, pens and leaflets.
Funding will go towards the ‘exam kit’ project by allowing us to pay for designing and producing of the mental health guide into a more concise format, suitable for exam kits. We can also purchase more, environmentally sound, canvas bags which will hold the exam kit, as well as some of the content, namely pens, snacks and drinks.
We hope that the exam kits and the mental health campaign of this semester will give students a stress relieving boost whilst they study. The exam kits are intended to be a fund source of light relief but also contain information about serious mental health issues linked to students, namely stress, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. By balancing the message of the campaign between lightweight and more serious elements, whilst simultaneously providing several hundred ‘exam kits’, we hope to reach numerous students who would otherwise feel isolated and stressed at this time.
Award-winning concept put forward by Liverpool’s Mental Wealth Group in 2011.
1. The World Health Organization have recently published concerning statistics that suggest the scale of depression as a mental illness is reaching levels that can be described as an epidemic. Depression is a key cause of suicide among young people. Isolation is a key cause of depression, and often this isolation can occur even when surrounded by friends and family. Open Minds’ Community Gardening project gives young people the opportunity to form relationships with strangers, with people who do not know their background, which can be essential as a form of ‘escape’ and relief.
2. Green skills obtained through the skill share initiative between young people and volunteersfrom the community, with an emphasis on recruitment from the older populations of the allotment communities in Liverpool, may be applied by students on campus in existing and future green projects e.g. Guild of Students Roof Garden project.
3. The funding will be primarily to design a campaign, recruit volunteers, and purchase any tools necessary, such as gloves and waterproof outer layers and/or high-vis vests.
4. The project has clear outcomes in the form of increased connectivity within and between different generations of a community, promoting positive perceptions of students in the community and in turn contributing positively to the social capital of an area. The funding will allow promotion of the initiative on campus, health and safety training of participants and volunteers, and adequate facilitation with equipment to ensure accessibility to the project by students with no experience of outdoor activities of this nature.
5. Without funding Clear Minds cannot afford to distribute promotional material to a wider section of the community than can be accessed for free using the Students’ Union facilities. Mainly, the procurement of safety equipment and tools would be impossible at this early stage of Open Minds as a student-led project. Any money left over will be used to print a personalized certificate and to compile an illustrated report (CD/email format) to distribute to participants and to be used as evidence for future funding applications.
6. There will be little if any reference to suicide and instead will emphasise the impact of the project on levels of health (physical) and wellbeing (Mental health). Open Minds will consider surveying a random selection of students on campus to collect opinions as to the negative/positive effects of including ‘suicide’ within promotional material for a mental health project.
7. There is no project within the Liverpool area at present which specifically links up students and older members of the gardening community. Existing student gardening projects do not have a specifically ‘health and wellbeing’ focus, either.
8. Open Minds who will organize and deliver the Community Gardening project is a student activity group based on the University of Liverpool campus.
9. Open Minds is a member of Mental Wealth UK, and as a founding member of Open Minds, I also sit on the Mental Wealth Student Committee.
10.Open Minds are in continual dialogue with the University’s Mental Health Officer to discuss all and any implications of our objectives and any projects we deliver. The Community Gardening project will be equally and robustly assessed in terms of its impact on student mental health and will be compliant with the Safeguarding Procedures as a baseline.
A campaign concept from Cardiff University Mental Wealth Group
In the UK around 2,000 young people under the age of 35 take their own lives each year.
Some of them are students.
And suicide doesn’t just affect the individual involved; instead it leaves behind a trail of bewildered and devastated friends and family.
SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?
We cannot stop suicide from occurring; it has always been part of our society. But there is sufficient evidence prevention and intervention can go a long way in helping somebody STOP from making the decision to take that final irreversible step.
STIGMA: Students with experience of suicidal thoughts at Cardiff University have indicated that there was sufficient shame and anxiety in discussing their suicidal intentions with others due to fear of being dismissed as overly-dramatic or being forced into situations where they were constantly under surveillance. This relates to discussions with both friends and mental health professionals.
THERE IS A NEED TO TACKLE THESE ISSUES ACROSS UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES IN A STUDENT-FRIENDLY WAY.
Project proposal: KEEP CALM AND LOVE LIFE.
AIMS: 1)To initiate self-worth and higher levels of self-esteem we want to ask students to think of the reasons why they are alive and what benefits they bring to this world that nobody else can.
HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS:
Ask students to answer the simple question ‘why did you get out of bed this morning?’ Was it to see your friends, go to your lectures, go on a night out etc? Ask students to record these on camera, place these on our website, facebook twitter etc.
Ask students to write these and place on boards around the SU.
Do the same thing for the question ‘what do you do for others that is unique?’ ie are you good at making people laugh and smile etc, again camera, fb. Twitter.