University Mental Health Day
The theme of the year is usually chosen by the mental health adviser at each university; however the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN) which runs the campaign promotes a number of campaign messages to tie the events together.
What is University Mental Health Day?
The day is focused around positive discourse, information and support, with five recommended pivotal points:
1. Informing people of the things they can do to improve their mental health
2. Counteracting negative portrayals of mental health issues in the media
3. Reinforcing positive behaviours relating to self-care and mental wellbeing
4. Talk about making changes, rather than simply the numbers of those affected
5. Look at society and the mental health environment
To achieve this, universities are being encouraged to hold conferences, meet-ups and talks, either with tutors or students talking and overseeing discussion.
Why is this important?
Both academic and personal lives can become overwhelming at university, so the campaign is an important one to promote - during February and throughout the year. While highlighting the significance of mental health issues is a huge stepping stone to helping people manage their own health, UMHAN also focuses on other purposes to make wider changes in higher education. This includes influencing health policies relating to mental health, and developing disability rights to reflect the mental health issues that many disabled people also face. The organisation also works to remove barriers to education caused by mental health, and advocates for people who need support and help from relevant bodies within the education system to continue their studies.
By doing this, UMHAN is able to ensure that everybody has access to a full education, regardless of the mental illnesses which might make attending classes and meeting deadlines difficult. At the same time, it is able to promote ways of self-managing illness and staying in education, helping affected people build resilience and confidence in managing their condition.
If you'd like to get involved in University Mental Health Day,take a look at this guide by UMHAN - and let us know how you helped!