We’ve created some campaign activities to help get you started. This list is not exhaustive, if you have an idea which goes beyond these ideas, go for it – University Mental Health Day is an opportunity for you to get creative!
“How do we create a supportive community...? #UniMentalHealthDay ”
Whiteboard campaigns are great for getting conversation flowing. Set yourself up on campus and give passers by a prompt to fill in. Take photos and upload them on social media.
You will need: a whiteboard – pens – camera - social media channel - publicity
These events allow speakers to share their knowledge and experiences of mental health and wellbeing. These can be very powerful events, providing students with an opportunity to learn about mental health difficulties in an engaging way.
You will need: a venue – volunteer speakers - publicity
Wellbeing Stall or Tent
Organise a stand or tent where students can collect free materials about mental wellbeing and university support services. You could also include a ‘wellbeing MOT’ where students can check out what “tune-ups” can be made to their own wellbeing, or a ‘relaxation station’, providing craft activities, board games along with mental health information.
You will need: a stall, leaflets, materials
Join up with a several university societies to run a quiz night. Quizzes have universal appeal, drop in a mental health round to raise awareness of the fact we all have mental health and to challenge stigma. You could also ask for a small donation to raise funds for Student Minds’ or UMHAN’s work. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for your Quiz pack!
‘Give it a go’ community volunteering
Contact your university’s volunteer department to organise community volunteering taster sessions. Check out Student Hub’s blog for inspiration on how volunteering can support someone’s mental health.
Start a book club
The 1st March is also World Book Day, why not get involved with both campaigns by setting up a book club and hosting the first ‘meet and greet’ on University Mental Health Day. Reading has been found to reduce stress so why not bring the university community together to encourage both.
You will need: a venue- a suitable book for discussion- publicity
- Board game evening
- Colouring room drop-in
- Taster sessions for societies
- Society collaborations
- Street party
- Swap shop - books, furniture, clothes
- Performance event - music, poetry slam, comedy
SUPPORT & SIGNPOSTING:
When running events on the topic of mental health, people are likely to associate you with an understanding and safe environment, and may want to talk about their personal experiences. It is important that volunteers have a clear understanding of their role and the limitations of this to ensure that the event or activity is a positive experience for all. Volunteers are not expected to take on a supportive role for any event attendees.
As a volunteer running an event, you are like a first aider. Just as a first aider at a sports event might put a temporary sling on someone who had hurt their arm, you should provide encouragement so that the person you are talking to feels confident about seeking further help.
It’s also worth familiarising yourself with some of the services that are available to students experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Check out Student Minds' support pages. You might also like to consider how you can make your event as accessible as possible by opening events early or including a digital element to the event (such as recording your activity or live tweeting).