Written by Isobel.
All views are Isobel's.
On Friday 2ndAugust I travelled to Leeds University Union for the Launch event of Student Minds new partnership with Students’ Unions across the country.
I am really proud that Hull University Union is one of only eleven pioneering Students’ Unions part of this programme to transform student mental health, both here in Hull and for other Students Unions' nationally.
Who are Student Minds?
Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. They empower students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change. They share best practice and ensure that the student voice influences decisions about student mental health.
They focus their efforts across three key areas:
- Empowering the role and agency of students
- Supporting organisations to deliver on a ‘whole-university approach’
- Tackling the biggest national gaps and challenges
Together we will transform the state of student mental health so that everyone in higher education can thrive.
Why are Hull University Union partnered with Student Minds?
Back in May, Hull University Union announced our new partnership with Student Minds. This decision was following student feedback that the withheld wages from the February 2018 UCU strikes should be reallocated towards improving mental health services for students.
You can read the original article here.
What happened at the launch event?
The day started off with a welcome from Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO of Student Minds and getting to know the other Students’ Unions involved in the programme. There was a big focus on collaborative working and what we all wanted to get out of the programme. There was a recognition that we all came from different organisations and different institutions with different demographics and student numbers to consider.
We were given more of an insight into the work of Student Minds and a brief on the Mental Health Charter they are working on. We then considered some of the key talking points in the space of student mental health which was really insightful.
We discussed the vision we had for the student mental health experience in the future and the impact that Students’ Unions can have on this. We found we were split between what we envision for the future and what the higher education section may look like in future due to the current political turmoil.
We also explored challenges and opportunities for Students’ Unions to influence and impact on student mental health.
It was clear from the sabbatical officers in the room (including myself) that we want to form action. I voiced that it was important to have a vision of what we want to accomplish a year from now - not only because in a years’ time there will be new sabbatical officers taking this project forward, but also because we need to be action and progress focused so students can benefit. It's important that they see and feel the difference.
I recognised that in order to tackle issues around student mental health, we need to look at it in terms of our own Students’ Union and the difference we can make, how we lobby the University and how we come together as a group to make a difference nationally. This is a big project and it's really exciting to see everyone coming together, wanting to make a difference.
Next week Abi (President of Inclusivity and Diversity), Erin (President of Sport) and the Student Voice Team will be going to a Student Minds network event in York to look at how we can lead the way to create positive change for student mental health. It will cover mental health literacy, campaigning effectively and how the national student mental health context can be translated into local change for us at Hull.
Keep your eyes peeled as Hull University Union continue with this partnership and begin to work on tackling student mental health issues.