Students and members of the university community are central to shaping the future of student mental health. You can see the power that using your voice can have:
"the most powerful thing you own is your story..."
"I have used my voice in many different ways, speaking out on my blog, delivering my testimony in schools, having conversations with those around me and most recently creating a government petition and working closely with Student Minds to try to make a change in the continuity of care that students receive for their mental health. Sharing your story is hard, to this day I still get nervous, but the reception every time confirms to me that I am doing the right thing. Taking that step to discuss my mental health has encouraged others to do the same and from there I know it is a domino effect. I often say the most powerful thing you own is your story and I truly believe it, my story hasn’t been an easy one but I have seen the power of my voice and that is why I continue to share my story and continue to campaign so passionately because I can feel the change happening."
Angela, University of Kent
"Your voice is an incredibly powerful tool..."
"Your voice is an incredibly powerful tool; it enables you to chat to your friends, project your emotions and share stories. My journey to utilising the power that my voice offered was slow and steady. I was confused, scared and fearful of what might happen if I used my voice to tell others what I was experiencing. The courage, strength and empowerment I felt to defy everything my illness was telling me built me up day by day and created the person that I am today. It’s those feelings that support me on my current advocacy journey, I want to use my voice to create change because there is still so much work that needs to be done in student mental health. I want to use my voice for those that have not yet found the strength to use theirs and to prevent others from feeling the same suffering and silencing as I did."
Jessica Mell, Sheffield Hallam University
"I use my voice to help other students who are still finding the confidence to use theirs..."
“In my second year of university, my mental health reached an extremely low point. When I came back to university for my third year I knew something needed to change. I set up a Student Minds group on campus. I use my voice to help other students who are still finding the confidence to use theirs, to speak up for what is great but also what needs to be improved at LJMU and how we can all work together to achieve this. At first, I found sharing my experience to be difficult and often emotional but the more I used my voice I found confidence and started to find using my voice to help others who are struggling in the same way I did. Through using my voice, I have found out so much about what goes into making a university inclusive, a sense of purpose away from the studies that were consuming me and found my place in the student community which I felt so detached from. I will continue to use my voice, to be the person I really needed when I felt like I was the only person not enjoying university, and to always remind others that for everyone university is not always the best three years of your life.”
Rosie Steele, Liverpool John Moores University
"By using our collective voices, together we can create change..."
"Over the last couple of years, I have used my voice to promote change around student mental health. By using our collective voices, I believe that together we can change the state of student mental health. For me this is change both at an individual level in terms of raising awareness and understanding, improving mental health literacy, and addressing the stigma attached to speaking up and asking for help, and at a structural level, in terms of making changes to mentally unhealthy social and education policies, practices and structures, and improving the support available to students."
Michael Priestly, University of Durham
"I chose to raise my voice for many people I have met who have struggled..."
"I have used my voice to raise awareness of Eating Disorders. I want to make sure that healthcare professionals never undermine anyone who may be struggling with an Eating Disorder. I actively promote petitions, working with course leaders and medical schools to improve mental health teaching and help the process by sharing both a patient's and a future doctor's perspective. I chose to raise my voice for many people I have met who have struggled with Eating Disorders but have been made to feel invalid. I want to speak up to encourage the quick and efficient detection and treatment of Eating Disorders".
"it is important we come together and tackle the struggles faced by students as one collective body..."
"I'm using my voice to create change in student mental health because I think it is important that we come together as a university community, and tackle the struggles faced by students as one collective body. As the President of University of York Student Minds, I ran a listening event recently. I encouraged students from across the university to come along and discuss the support services on offer at the university. We discussed what works well with the services, and what could be improved. Now we are taking this feedback onboard and approaching the various support services so that we can make changes at a grassroot level. Through running this event, I was able to learn about the power of using my own voice to then mobilise the wider student voice. I was taken aback by seeing the capability of the university community coming together and fighting to improve mental health support as one united front. It’s incredible to see the power of the student voice, and by speaking up, you can encourage those around you to speak up too!"
Aneeska Sohal, University of York
"I will always promote open discussion of mental health as we work together to reduce stigma..."
“Over my time as a student at I have struggled with poor mental health. I am using my voice and experiences to share with others how to look after their own mental health, navigate services and receive support and adjustments from the university. The support I received the mental health support team, medial centre and my department helped me feel more in control of my studies and my mind. Through my role as President of the Students’ Union, I will always promote the open discussion of mental health as we work together to reduce stigma and create change.”
Rahul Mathasing, University of Loughborough
"I have used my voice to promote better wellbeing and support for fellow students who may be struggling..."
“Through being a Peer Support Facilitator for Student Minds at the University of Strathclyde, I have used my voice to promote better wellbeing and support for fellow students who may be struggling with low mood or anxiety. I decided to do this because throughout my own undergraduate and postgraduate studies, there have been times where I myself struggled but wasn’t sure where or who to turn to in the University. I believe it's' through initiatives like the peer support groups that student can come together to talk, to not feel alone and support each other. More recently I started making a Positive Minds Podcast, a wellbeing podcast to reach more students (and staff) and give information on the support services within the University. I feel really proud to be a part of Student Minds and to use my voice in this way as I feel like I am making a difference and generating more conversation about student mental health issues.”
Sara Cameron, University of Strathclyde Graduate
"I choose to use my voice, to be vocal about mental health..."
“I choose to use my voice, to be vocal about mental health for so, so many reasons. On one hand my personal experiences with anxiety and depression give me immense drive to ensure others can have a better time of it than I've had, but there's so much more to it than that. I have been able to use my voice by chairing the Student Minds campaigns group in Bath, working with our Students' Union to improve attitudes and create real positive change around mental health at university. At the moment we are working on our "Time for Tutees" campaign to improve the pastoral role of personal tutors both for students and staff, through various focus groups and wide listening.”
Patrick Taylor, University of Bath
"If I could help or inspire even a single person using my voice, it would be worthwhile..."
"I use my voice to break the stigma surrounding eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. These are issues that I, myself, have struggled with. I understand their severity, but I also know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is something I am passionate to share. Initially, speaking up felt uncomfortable. What would people think of me? I decided to find out: I published two books and started a blog and a YouTube channel. What I received was an overwhelmingly positive response. People were relieved to hear that they were not alone in their struggles. That's when I realised that, if I could help or inspire even a single person by using my voice, it would be worthwhile."
Hanne Arts, University of Bath
"to show you can go to university despite whether you have had a mental illness or not..."
“I use my voice to fight the stereotypes and stigmas that surround eating disorders. I began sharing my story a few years ago after keeping it hidden for so long. I realised that by standing up and sharing my story it had the potential to equip others to manage their recovery. It showed people that you can go to university despite whether you have had a mental illness or not. I want to keep using my voice to shout loudly for those who don’t feel able to. Those who are turned away from services or support and those who feel like they cannot reach out for help because they don’t look like someone who supposedly has an eating disorder."
"Using your voice can feel daunting at first, but once you have done it, it feels empowering..."
"We use our voices by running a peer support group called Positive Minds on our campus. When we first started it was hard to make our voices heard as we are a small group of students trying to make a change in a large university. However, through persistence and speaking with supportive members of staff, our voice was finally heard. Through running the sessions, we use our voices to support students in improving their mental health. We empower other students to use their voices to open up about their mental health and ask for help. Using your voice can feel daunting at first, but once you have done it, it feels empowering."
Beth, Alice and Lucy, Nottingham Student Minds
Beth, Alice and Lucy, Nottingham Student Minds
"it is so important to reach out to students and tell them that they are not alone..."
“I use my voice to create positive change in student mental health. From my personal experience of anxiety, I understand why this is so important to talk about. On my campus, I use my voice as President of BCU Student Minds to encourage other students to use their voices. I created a monthly event called Mindful Space, where we get together and listen to mindful tapes, this is a free event where anyone can turn up. I created a social media campaign called #selfielove, which gave students a chance to discuss what they love about themselves. I have done all of this not just because I love discussing mental health but because I think it is so important to reach out to students and tell them that they are not alone.”
Chloe Henderson, Birmingham City University