mentalBy Louise Goux-Wirth

UWE Students’ Union started the conversation to end mental health discrimination last October 2011, when we took part in Mental Health Awareness Day, and then later in February signed the Time To Change pledge. As a charitable organisation, pledging to support Time to Change was a public display of our commitment to tackling mental health discrimination.

We have put together a Mental Health Awareness Road Show to visit all 5 campuses of UWE, from the Monday 8th- 12th October, to encourage individuals to be more open about mental health. UWE is a diverse community of 30,000 students. If 1in4 will have a mental health problem within their lifetime, that make 7,500 students approximately will be experiencing mental health. It is crucial that as a Students’ Union we campaign on issues that affect students here at UWE.

“You wouldn’t say man up if someone had cancer. You wouldn’t say man up if someone had broken their leg. So I don’t think that we should say man up when someone has a mental health issue.” Holly Ridson, UWE 1st Year student

UWE Bristol Wellbeing Services has provided substantial support in making this campaign successful. It is essential that the commitment to end mental health discrimination here at UWE has support from the top, and help inspire a culture in the organisation where discrimination has no place, and work to actively challenge stigma can flourish.

The Wellbeing Service provide support for students with a variety of personal development and mental health needs, and as part of their services, they provide mental health support, and counselling.

NUS National Union of Students of Scotland recently carried out a survey into mental wellbeing Silently Stressed, and some of the results showed that 54% of participants sought support from family or friends, when only 17.3% sought support from institutional counselling. This is why its’ essential that students know where they can get help and support, to ensure that their whole student experience is the best that it can be.

A good mental Wellbeing impacts on so many aspects of students lives; from their satisfaction on their course, to their ability to settle into university life. At a time of profound change in the higher education sector, student retention is a key concern for universities today. It essential that the services that are on offer, are visible, effective, and at a high quality, to ensure that students have a good student experience.

The Mental Health Awareness Road Show aims to take the message to each UWE campus, through an interactive and engaging campaign. University life can be challenging, if you don’t know where to ask for help. We hope to build bridges for students, and create a culture where of positive wellbeing. We hope you’ll join us in the conversation to end stigma mental health.