Today the University Mental Health Advisers Network has encouraged universities across the UK to hold a series of events to promote good mental health.
My University has suggested a 5-a-day plan for maintaining/improving wellbeing. These are:
- connect with the people around you
- do something active
- take notice of the world
- learn something new
- give to others
The idea is to suggest positive things individuals (and especially students) can do to improve their own wellbeing – with the theory not only that prevention is better than cure but also that although efforts to destigmatise often attempt to promote dialogue a lot of effort is put into recognising symptoms and promoting equality it starts from a notion of right and wrong mental states rather than a continuum of health, the former of which van lead of course to reinforcing a sense of internal stigmatisation. I think that, of course, awareness goes hand-in-hand with positive activity and steps that encourage students to look after themselves and each other can only be lauded.
My only real quibble is that as a distance-learner I can’t assess how the day has gone or actively partake in any of the events.
As part of this national day I have had a chance to look at the documents published by UMHAN which include suggestions for improving access to HE for people with mental health difficulties, improving reporting of mental health disabilities and engaging with support from the DSA scheme and frameworks for institutional support. And I have to say I’m impressed, I’m especially impressed with their section of guidance for students and I look forward to seeing the suggestions and guidelines more widely publicised