Thursday 5th March is University Mental Health Day, the biggest day of the year for raising awareness about student mental health. University Mental Health Day is run by Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN), and its purpose is to:
“Empower the student community to look after their mental health, support others and generate change.”
A survey of around 40,000 UK students from 140 universities, focussing on student mental health and wellbeing, published in 2019, found that over a third of respondents had experienced a serious personal, emotional, behavioural or mental health problem for which they sought professional help, and over one-fifth have received a mental health diagnosis in the past.
Although the stigma around mental health has lessened considerably in recent years, with these issues given much more publicity, 76% of survey respondents said they have concealed their symptoms due to stigma.
That’s why Student Mental Health Day is so important for playing a vital role in breaking down the stigma around mental health and equipping students with the skills they need to cope with mental health problems.
What can you do to get involved?
Do you have lived experience of mental health difficulties?
If so, you have vital experience to help direct and implement the strategies your university takes to progress its mental health awareness and support strategies. This is why you should be active in lobbying senior staff at your university and asking them what their plan is to improve student mental health and wellbeing on campus.
Being a student with experience of struggling or living with mental health problems puts you in a unique position to explain what that is like to decision makers in your university who might not have first-hand experience of struggling in such a way.
Another way to get involved is to simply raise awareness by posting on your social media accounts using the hashtag #UniMentalHealthDay. Maybe you could share some of your own experiences along with the hashtag. Something as simple as this could help someone realise they aren’t the only person going through these experiences and helps to normalize mental health problems and break down the stigma surrounding them.
If you want to do something a little bigger, you can get involved with fundraising events at your university. Find out more information about how you can do this on the University Mental Health Day website. Alternatively, find out if your university is running any events and see how you might be able to support them.
Even if you haven’t personally experienced issues with your mental health, you can still get involved and help those who have.
In a similar way, if you aren’t comfortable talking about your own experiences or struggles with mental health, you can still fundraise and raise awareness by participating in other events.
Whatever it is you choose to do on University Mental Health Day, remember to: inspire conversations, take action and create change.
Not a student?
Although it might be University Mental Health Day, it’s important to bear in mind that anyone can suffer from issues with their mental health and wellbeing. Remember that there is help out there and loads of fantastic charities across the country working to help people in their communities. This charities need your support all year round, so why not find out more about some of the charities in your area, working to provide support for those struggling with their mental health using our Charity Search tool?