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25 Universities Pledge To Promote Mental Wealth In 2012

13 Jan 2012 | Mental Wealth UK

A mental health campaign launched last October has led to the creation of student-led advocacy groups at 25 universities. The campaign was in response to a report highlighting the threats to student wellbeing and the groups will work to promote good mental health and wellbeing on their campuses throughout 2012.

The national 25by2012 campaign was launched by Mental Wealth UK, with the aim of making university campuses, healthier, happier places for students to live and study, by encouraging student-led activism. The campaign has been supported by national organisations such as Action for Happiness, Young Minds, and the £20m anti-stigma project, Time to Change, as well as dozens of universities. 

Mental Wealth UK is a non-profit body that was setup to support student-led mental health and wellbeing advocacy. Edward Pinkney, who founded Mental Wealth UK after launching a student wellbeing society at the University of Leeds in 2008, said, "More and more students are stepping forward to take leadership roles at their universities. The Royal College of Psychiatrists' new report highlights the threats to student mental health and wellbeing, and with university resources stretched, we believe that student-led initiatives are going to play an increasingly important role in tackling these challenges."

Sally Wood, the coordinator for Nightline, added, "With student mental health threatened, we think that this campaign is coming at exactly the right time. We're delighted to support the 25by2012 campaign and the vital work that Mental Wealth UK is doing in our student communities".

The campaign and the successes of each of the groups will be celebrated at an event in Leeds on 28 January. This will be an opportunity for the groups to reflect upon 2011, and also to look ahead at the campaigns and events that are in store for 2012. An award sponsored by the Matthew Elvidge Trust will be recognising notable contributions to campus mental health by groups. 

The groups have been formed at universities across the UK, including St Andrews, Southampton, Swansea, and Sunderland. Each of them aims to 'bring mental health out of the shadows' by challenging discrimination, raising awareness, and providing students with opportunities for training and skill-building. Groups in Manchester and Cardiff were recognised at the 2011 national NUS awards, with one of the leading members of the Manchester group, Tayaba Nicholson, being awarded NUS Student of the Year for her campaigning.

Harriet Wickson, a 3rd year psychology student and leader of the 'Mental Wealth Matters' Society at Sheffield University stated: "We are really excited about being a part of Mental Wealth UK and the opportunities it will bring. We already have a growing committee and there are a lot of students showing a keen interest in getting involved to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The Society is looking forward to the year ahead and carrying out fun and exciting campaigns and fundraising events with the help of our wonderful Mental Health Matters Elephant." 

The '25by2012' campaign was introduced following a report released by the Royal College of Psychiatrists published in September, which suggested that "social changes such as the withdrawal of financial support, higher rates of family breakdown and, more recently, economic recession all have an impact on the mental health and well-being of students. As such, many counsellors and mental health advisors in universities are reporting increased demand from students for their services." The report highlighted the "pressing need" for more mental health promotion on campuses.

About Mental Wealth UK

Mental Wealth UK is a student organisation committed to promoting positive wellbeing on university campuses. The organisation provides inspiration and support to a network of student Mental Wealth groups. It is currently the only national organisation dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of university students. The organisation won an Unltd Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010

Mental Wealth UK has been supported by Action for HappinessTime to ChangeThe Matthew Elvidge TrustThe Charlie Waller Memorial TrustNightline  and Leeds Metropolitan University, amongst others. 

For more information visit www.mentalwealthuk.com or contact Edward Pinkney

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