World Mental Health Day: Mind Society
10th October is World Mental Health Day, an annual day recognised by The World Health Organisation to provide an opportunity for those working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done. This year’s theme, chosen by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘young people and mental health in a changing world’.
As a Students’ Union, young people’s mental health and well being is so important to us. We would like to take this World Mental Health Day to talk about the work being done and the work left to do.
Mind Society gathers students who are “passionate about campaigning on behalf of Mind, the mental health charity.” They fundraise throughout the year and all proceeds gathered go directly to Solent Mind, the charity’s Hampshire branch. They also volunteer with Mind’s national campaigns such as the Virgin London Marathon.
1.) What’s been done so far?
The Mind Society have created a number of opportunities to fundraise for Mind including, cake sales, a Christmas card competition and Halloween pumpkin carving sessions. However, over the past year the team has also striven to include more awareness and support events on top of this. “One initiative is our Tea and Talks” says President, Kiana, “it’s an informal drop in session where we supply tea, biscuits, and a welcoming atmosphere in order to encourage conversation and show support on all things mental health.”
But that’s not all the team have been up to, “we also had the pleasure of holding an end-of-year fundraising evening with MNDA Society in The Bridge last year, a semi-formal event where we invited speakers to talk about mental health, wellbeing, and the link between physical and mental illness. With a live music interval and wonderful conversation being sparked, it was a fantastic evening which also raised close to £200 for the two organisations.”
“it’s a great opportunity to make friends”
Something the Mind Society is really proud of is their annual ‘Santa Walk’ to Winchester in collaboration with the Hillwalking Society, “it’s a great opportunity to make friends and walk along the beautiful Itchen Valley towards Winchester Christmas market whilst raising loads of sponsorship money for Solent Mind.”
2.) What’s to come?
This year they have decided on a theme as a focus throughout their activities: ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing.’ Watch this space to see events related to this.
“We have also put Solent Mind and SUSU in contact with each other to try and get a wellbeing officer initiative started for all union affiliated societies, with Solent Mind providing free training” says Kiana, “we’re very excited to see where that goes.”
“Following the success of a yoga taster class with the lovely Carley, we have planned to hold regular yoga sessions either fortnightly or monthly. They’re a fantastic way to de-stress and improve physical health, greatly impacting on mood.”
The team are also planning on collaborating with youth charity No Limits, “they’ve have been in touch, and we hope to work with them throughout the year.”
If all this wasn’t enough, the Mind Society will soon be introducing an online book club, “we will provide links and reviews to interesting and prominent books on the subject of mental health in the hope that we can all try and educate ourselves to learn more about the world around us.”
3.) What’s left to do?
“We are huge advocates for institutions recognising and utilising the power of young people” says Kiara, “we would love to see more student input into mental health directives within the university. SUSU has made great headway in its welfare department, and we hope to see and contribute towards a continuation of this hard work in the future.”
“SUSU has made great headway in its welfare department”
“It is evident from our 80% female committee that men’s mental health (and health in general) is an important issue” says Kiara,”encouraging a culture of emotional openness within predominantly male circles is an aspect on which we wish to focus this year.”
Another aspect which Mind Society feels needs more attention is support networks for the mental health of particular societal groups such as LGBTQ+ and BAME communities. “It is recognised that these groups are more likely to encounter mental health issues” says Kiara, “therefore we are keen to work with diverse groups to be able to build and improve services which work for all.”
You can find information about the mental health services available here.
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