Stepping into the newly-created role of Mental Health Liberation Officer, I was acutely aware of the scale of the challenges faced. In the Mentality Survey, which was run two years ago, 70% of student at Imperial reported mental stresses or a mental health problem. It’s so important that we hit the ground running this year.
We’ve organised our first major event of the year: on Tuesday 10th October, World Mental Health Day (WMHD), we’re going to be raising awareness of mental health, as well as raising money for the Young Minds charity. I’ve organised a partnership between Imperial College Union and Young Minds, which does fantastic work in promoting self-care, addressing mental health stigma, and encouraging young people to lobby the government on mental health issues. If you’re interested, come along to Beit Quad next Tuesday, where we’ll be running a number of different events – you can find out more info about Young Minds, and see how student societies can make a difference at Imperial.
I’ve also been speaking to incoming undergraduate and masters students across Imperial, about how the Union represents them regarding mental health issues. It’s vital that all students at our university know about how they can make their voices heard, and where they can turn to for help. However, there is no point in raising awareness if there is no commitment from the College and faculty to increase the provisions available to students. One of the major issues is that there simply isn’t space for the counselling service to expand – we’re launching our campaign to pressure the College to change this on WMHD, so please come along and ask me any questions you might have about what we plan on doing.
During the rest of the year I will be putting pressure on the College – it’s time that your voices are heard, and real change is achieved.