In January 2015 VetFutures surveyed veterinary students and found 38.7% had experienced suicidal thoughts. A further study conducted by NUS in November 2015 found that 78% of students experienced a mental health problem within the past year, with anxiety and depression being high on the list.
As I said in my manifesto, this year mental health will feature high on my list of priorities. During our wellbeing week (17th-23rd October 2016) we launched our first mental health campaign, #itsOK. Our campaign calls for staff and students to write a positive message on our whiteboards, along with the hashtag and pose for a photograph to share on our social media page.
The aims for #itsOK are to promote awareness, normalise the conversations around mental health. We aim to tackle stigmas and taboo and ultimately to make people feel supported in getting the help that they need. We plan to take as many photos of as many people as possible. We’ve already had some amazing ones from both staff and students including the Principal Stuart Reid and Vice Principal David Church.
When it comes to mental health, we can all do something to help; this is just the beginning!
Hatti Smart (Vice President Welfare)
RVC Students’ Union President, Becca Bowes:
“With mental health being an ever prevalent issue within universities, it has become more important than ever to highlight awareness of mental health, and to attempt to remove the stigma surrounding this topic. Our aim was to take as many pictures as possible, showing a variety of members of the university - even including the Principal! It is an issue that we all feel extremely passionate about, and would love for this initiative to have the outreach it deserves. If our campaign helps even one person at our university; it has done it's job! “
If you would like any more information or to get involved with our campaign, please drop me a line: email@example.com
If you feel as though you would like to talk to someone please contact the advice centre: firstname.lastname@example.org or counselling services email@example.com
London Nightline: 020 7631 0101
VetLife: 0303 040 2551
Samaritans: 020 8889 6888