Wednesday, 6 March 2019

We are using our voices to make student mental health less of a taboo

Aneeska shares the power of using your voice and the activities happening at University of York Student Minds.
- Aneeska Sohal 

University of York Student Minds are using our voices with the hope of making student mental health less of a taboo, and mobilising the various university forces to do so.

This term we have undertaken a variety of campaigns and events to achieve this. In January, we teamed up with the University of York Students Union (YUSU) for ‘Keep your Cool’ week. The week takes place during the exam and deadline spell, and our mission was to use our voices to help the students around us get through this stressful time. The York Student Minds committee and our volunteer group worked together and wrote out personal, positive post-it note messages. These included tips on taking a break during the busyness of working, including relaxing places on campus to go to, as well self-care advice – such as taking out time for yourself and going for a walk or catching up with friends. We then scattered these notelets around the library, and it was great to see the reaction to these! Students tagged us on social media thanking us for the notes they had received, and it was great to be able to brighten up a fellow student’s day! We were able to use our voices to relax and support the university community around us.

Due to the success of the work carried out we were approached with a podcast opportunity by a fellow student, Danny Bowman - the Head of Campaigns at the think tank Parliament Street. As the President of University of York Student Minds, I chatted to Danny about the challenges of university life, and the work we are undertaking to help students work through these difficulties. The podcast was included on the Parliament Street website, and it was great to have an opportunity to use my voice to talk about the work we are doing to a wide group of listeners. The link for the podcast can be found here.

Later in the term, the committee ran a ‘Here to Listen’ event. Students from across the university community studying different subjects came along, as well students who are involved in other mental health groups on campus, including University of York Mental Health Awareness Society. The aim of the event was to use the voices of students from different pockets of university life to gain feedback on the mental health support at the University of York. Some of the points of discussion included; the strengths and weaknesses of the support offered from different subject departments, as well as the GP services. We are now taking this feedback, and using our voices to talk to the necessary departments and support services, in the hope of making changes at a grassroots level.

Recently, the University of York Student Minds branch collaborated with the university’s Literature Society. At the event ‘The Power of Words’, we invited students to come along and use their voices to discuss works which have helped with their mental health. The committee scribed the titles of these works as we went along– which ranged from poetry anthologies, self-help books to novels – and soon we will be publishing this extensive list on our social media platforms. We hope these works will be able to help other students too!

It has been great to use our voices in various ways this term, and we look forward to continuing with this momentum in the summer term! Find out how you can campaign and use your voice today!




Hello, I am Aneeska and I am President of the University of York Student Minds. You can find out more about our work here

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