Skip to main content

For those of you who weren’t aware, today is a hugely significant day in Higher Education. And no it’s not because I’m finally writing a blog 7 months into my sabb year. Today is in fact University Mental Health Day, a national campaign run jointly by Student Minds and UMHAN which aims to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in HE settings. And whilst I doubt anyone would deny the importance of promoting awareness raising campaigns, there’s a disconcerting existence of those denying the importance of investing adequate resources into mental health provisions.

But I’m calling for an investment that goes beyond the financial kind. Not doing so would be a narrow minded oversight on an issue which affects all students on a campus where everyone is experiencing their own unique struggles. Instead the investment must extend to a commitment to listen, to understand and to adapt service provision. We need to break away from a one size fits all narrative by acknowledging the existence of different communities whose relationships with mental health intersect differently. We need to review institutional regulations which negatively impact students, including making it easier for those who interrupt and return to studies. And we need to appreciate that the marketisation of higher education affects both academics and students alike, resulting in an educational experience which can often prove too much for all involved.  

I’m therefore using today to launch the start of some focused mental health initiatives as part of the Heads Up campaign, because one awareness day just isn’t enough. We’ll be kicking off with a lecture walkout and rally with the FOMHS campaign group to reclaim the narrative of UMHD by calling for increased funding of our mental health services in South Quad at 1pm. We’ve then organised a whole host of activities on campus until the end of term, ranging from open mic nights to self care workshops and panel events. And finally, I’ve also launched an anonymous webform to collate your experiences with mental health support which will hopefully inform future delivery of services, so please fill it out if you have anything good or bad to share. I’ll be attempting to blog more often (no promises) to share exactly what I’ve been working on, but please give the Heads Up page a like for updates just in case. 

Aiysha x

(If you require support of any kind, make sure to get in touch with the Student Support and Wellbeing services)