By Jennifer Springham @jlspringham2
Joint Appointment: Lecturer in Mental Health and Practice Development Lead, My Care Academy.
What does this look like in practice?
This is about involving all staff and students in mental health as a strategic priority moving forward. Examples include lecturers and technical staff from all disciplines being trained in mental health awareness and first aid, initiatives for wellbeing and health promotion, particularly around the assessment period. A co-productive approach; finding out from students what a university mental health strategy should look like and what would most help them if experiencing a mental health crisis. We all have mental health and in a community such as a university, health and wellbeing should be at the heart of it.
It is encouraging to see that universities are increasingly adopting mental health strategies, Middlesex University being one of them. I met with Leah Madnick, Student Counselling and Mental Health Manager at Middlesex University to talk about their service and how they reach out to students. I was very inspired by Leah’s passion for finding creative ways to promote mental health awareness and building those crucial links with university staff and external support services.
- The Westminster Drugs Project, who provide a once a month drop in for students at their service, enabling future support to continue outside of the university
- Papyrus, who engage communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects and deliver training programmes
- Barnet Wellbeing Hub, who provide a pathway that enables students in Barnet to access services for mental health support and promotion of integration into the community
- The Chinese Mental Health Association, who raise awareness of mental health in the Chinese community, and offer counselling in the native language
- Kooth, an online counselling and support forum for those aged under 26 who are living or studying in Barnet
- Barnet’s Autism services, who provide assessment for diagnosis as well as social support and inclusion
- Therapy dogs drop in, which has proved to be very successful in alerting students to the support services at Middlesex University
There is also a great emphasis on staff collaboration within the university, including:
- Working with the Progression and Support team to support students who may be at risk of dropping out due to ongoing issues impacting on their studies
We are always
The service is based in Sunny Hill House, a discreet yet accessible place behind the Williams Building, an area I found to be warm and welcoming. Middlesex University students can also access information leaflets and guidance on a variety of mental health concerns, advice on settling into London, and the UK as well as guidance for students in recognising and offering support for those around them who may need it. Further information can also be found on the University Intranet and via the Student Union, who are always doing fantastic work with students. One project coming up is the Assessment Support project taking place between 25th April and 15th May, which includes a designated room on campus where different activities will be available to students to help them de-stress during the assessment period.
In my next blog I will be interviewing Lucy Holland, recently re-elected Middlesex University Student Union Vice President for Art & Design and Media & Performing Arts, to hear about the work she has done to promote wellbeing through conversations in the ‘We Need to Talk‘ campaign. In addition I will be talking to members of the Student Union to hear more about the Assessment Support project.