University Mental Health Day 2022
March 3, 2022 | by Christian Varley
University Mental Health Day is the date in the year that the pressing issue of mental health within the further education community is brought to our attention.
University Mental Health Day takes place annually on the first Thursday in March and is crucial in making mental health a priority across campuses in the UK and beyond, and to help facilitate progress, awareness and support for student wellbeing.
The instability and turbulence of the last few years have taken a significant toll on everyone’s mental health, but especially students. Due to the disruptions in their studies and their ability to interact with peers and teaching staff, and the stresses and loneliness such disruptions have caused, it has highlighted the need to focus on their mental wellbeing. University Mental Health Day therefore promotes solidarity amongst university students, academics and the wider public in feeling supported to discuss the mental health challenges that the university community is facing together.
Student mental health charity Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN) are the organisations behind University Mental Health Day. While Student Minds seeks to empower students and academics to look after their own and other’s mental health, the University Mental Health Advisors Network is composed of a group of mental health experts who work in the Higher and Further Education sectors, and who provide support to students experiencing mental health difficulties. Both organisations offer guidance to those wishing to look after and support their own mental health, or those of loved ones in university settings.
As well as finding helpful resources on the websites of Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network, the University Mental Health Day website offers advice on how you can get involved to support the day. This could be from sharing your experiences on social media, to running events online, or speaking to someone at your university for more mental health awareness and support. University Mental Health Day is therefore fundamentally about progressing conversations on the critical importance of student mental health, and about finding new ways to help students and academics to feel supported and confident in discussing, addressing, and resolving difficulties they may be facing.
Around the UK, universities are getting involved with University Mental Health Day to support the mental wellbeing of the university community, such as De Montfort University, that is holding a series of events over the course of the day which students and academics are invited to attend, from Positive Mindset masterclasses to mindfulness and zen sessions. The University of Reading is hosting several events over the course of March 3rd and 4th too, for instance, involving a yoga session, guest speakers on wellbeing and mental health, and promotion of the University’s various existing psychological and health support services.
I hope you will have the opportunity to visit the Student Minds, the University Mental Health Advisors Network, and the University Mental Health Day websites for further information and advice on how to get involved. Individual universities will also have their own pages detailing the various events they are putting on for today. By coming together in this way, mental wellbeing will be given greater support across our country and campuses, and that will help us all live happier, more content lives.