Next week will see the launch of the ‘Look After Your Mate’ campaign on campus. The campaign is part of a national scheme initialised by Student Minds, with the aim of offering information, support and advice on how students can support their peers at university.
The launch comes after a number of surveys, which highlighted that a number of significant challenges concerning mental health relate to social relationships, and the anxiety created by the stigmas of mental health. The recent ‘Mind the Gap’ report conducted by Student Minds highlighted that students are most likely to turn to friends for help when feeling under pressure. Another study also indicated that support from friends and family was often given as the main reason for students experiencing difficulties to remain in Higher Education.
The campaign was developed in response to results such as these, which have demonstrated a gap in support for the friends of those experiencing mental health issues. Vicky Gall, Co-President of Mental Wealth at Southampton, spoke about the demand for the campaign:
“There is no lesson at school that prepares you for supporting a friend with a mental health difficulty. I found it hard to know what to do or say to help and support my friends when I was first faced with this challenge. Learning about the conditions affecting my friends was really important and over a long period of time I have learnt how I can support my friends and look after myself at the same time. There is such limited information readily available for supporters to help through this process that can be very confusing and at points upsetting. These resources are very exciting and I would have loved to have had access to them back at the beginning of my supporting experience.”.- Vicky Gall, Co-President of Mental Wealth Southampton
As part of the national campaign, the aims of the ‘Look After Your Mate’ week in Southampton are to empower students with the confidence and skills to support their friends who are going through a mental health difficulty. Gabriela Discenza, co-president of mental wealth Southampton commented that they want to raise awareness of the fact that many students seek help and support from their peers, instead of counsellors and doctors, as well as offering information and advice.[quote align=”left” name=”Gabriela Discenza” role=”Co-president of Mental Wealth Southampton”]We just want to raise awareness of this and help people realise that everyone can make a difference, even if it’s just making their friends a cup of tea..[/quote]
Throughout next week, the Southampton Mental Wealth team will be giving out 1000 goody bags, but the scheme signals the start of larger plans, including a workshop that will be offered at the beginning of next semester about looking after your friends. The team are excited about the launch, with co-president Vicky Gall commenting…
The Southampton based campaign has the potential to engage students and empower them with knowledge and skills helping them to be there for friends. Mental health and wellbeing affects every one of us. If we can respond to friends in an educated, non-judgmental and understanding way, isolation and vulnerability will be minimised which can only be seen as a positive thing. The launch of this campaign will set us up ready for the new academic year when we can continue this high impact campaign and run a workshop aimed at developing the skills of students run by the Student Minds staff from Oxford.
Look out for the campaign on campus next week.