My name is Robert Young and I am an International Student Support Advisor based in the Student Services Centre. When I’m not assisting students with their visas though, I am also a trustee of a mental health charity based in Walton-on-Thames called Wellness with a Goal. We take a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing and run various services for our clients ranging from IT classes to support groups.
Let me ask a question. How many times have you said to someone this week, “I’m OK/fine/alright” and really meant it? I know that I’ve said it more times than I can remember! Have I really been fine all of that time? No. So why do I say it? Perhaps I actually need people to know how I’m actually doing…!
National mental health charity Time to Change are holding their annual mental health day today. They are a driving force here in the UK to help us all begin to change the way mental health is seen in our society, both in the way it is talked about and in the way it is represented by government and society. Their tagline for this year is “Time to Talk – conversations change lives” and we wanted to support this today.
The Student Advice team manned a stall in the library foyer for Time to Talk Day from 10am-2pm today based entirely around mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of talking. We had some great materials and flyers from Time to Change themselves on having those meaningful conversations and how to equip yourself to start them. We spoke to students and staff discussing the common misconceptions on mental health issues and how that affects our view of those that suffer from an illness, and indeed those of us that don’t but just want to open up about how they feel a little more! We also had a couple of interactive pin board activities that addressed “the elephant in the room” where people left us messages of what mental health meant to them.
Most importantly though we were there for a conversation! We believe, like Time to Change do, that it’s time to talk! We thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with you all, and please remember to pay them forward!
For further information on the work Time to Change do, visit their website: www.time-to-change.org.uk The charity also commissioned a great report into mental health and its perception in the UK: Time to Change report 2014
If you feel low, depressed, or are struggling at the moment there are lots of places that can help. Here at the University the best place is the Centre for Wellbeing – they are contactable between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, and also have a Duty Nurse on call from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
Some other sources of help: