Wednesday 4 March 2020

Support the Leaders Movement and contribute to change in student mental health!

Rebekah shares why being part of a movement is important to her and how you can join her in creating student-led change.
- Rebekah Dussek

Since my teenage years, I have experienced a range of mental health difficulties, including depression, eating disorders, and personality disorders. I’ve subsequently had times where I have been able to be fairly independent and achieve everything that I’ve wanted to, but other times where I have had to make significant adjustments to my life. My university journey has been turbulent to say the least, but one of the biggest positives that I will take from my time at uni will be my work with Student Minds, the UK’s leading charity for student mental health, in which I have been able to use my experiences to speak in the media as a Press Ambassador, and now also as part of the Leaders Movement.

The Leaders Movement is a nation-wide campaign led by Student Minds, that is aiming to empower students to create change in their own communities – it is truly by students, for students.

Over the last few years, there has been an undeniable step forward in awareness and understanding of mental health difficulties. Campaigns such as Time to Talk Day are now known across the country. But there is a difference in talking and actually doing. However powerful and influential people and groups, including the government, use campaigns such as these to hide the fact that they are failing to meet the demands of not only us as students, but of the nation as a whole. Mental health services are stretched beyond capacity, which is resulting in too many people falling through the gaps, struggling alone, and even losing their lives. With all the political turmoil and sensationalist headlines, our government are not going to help us. Therefore, we need to try and help ourselves, and this is where the Leaders Movement comes in.

You might be thinking, why should I get involved – I don’t suffer from mental illness?

The truth is, everyone has mental health. Even if you don’t suffer from a diagnosed condition, we are all human and have good days and bad. Consequently, the Leaders Movement is aimed at improving the wellbeing of the whole student community. It is not just focused on mental illness. Even if you are reading this and you are not a student, the chances are that you know someone at university – a family member or friend – or maybe you know people who are hoping to go to uni in the future. Everyone deserves the chance to succeed at university and in life. We shouldn’t have to struggle because of other people’s decisions and funding allocations. So, we as the Leaders Movement are taking back power into our own hands.

Being part of the Movement is really important to me. I’ve seen first-hand how university can make such a huge difference, for better or worse, in the lives of both myself and my friends. I’ve seen many attempts by a university to appear that they are providing adequate provisions for their students, however the one hour of ‘therapy dogs’ each semester isn’t really cutting it. More needs to be, and can be, done.

At the moment, the Leaders Movement is asking for any donations, no matter how small. Donations will go towards making the idea of the movement become a reality:

  • £3,000 could pay for 60 student leaders to be trained to campaign on student mental health issues within their communities. 
  • £30,000 could pay for a full-time Community Organiser to train, support, and empower students in their communities to take action.
  •  £80,000 could fund the pilot in three different areas of the UK for a year. 
  • However, if you are unable to donate for whatever reason, there are still ways to become involved, such as by sharing information among your family and friends, and supporting the Movement on social media using #WeAreTheLeadersMovement.

Join the Leaders Movement today and do your bit to lead the change in student mental health!

Find out more about the Leaders Movement and donate to power student led change today! 

I'm Rebekah, studying History at the University of Nottingham. I've had my own struggles with my mental health over the years, but hope to use my experiences to hopefully help others going through similar situations.

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