TEESSIDE University Students Union used Monday the 12th March to host their Mental Health Awareness Day for their students.
The goal of this mental health awareness day was described by Carol Wilson, a representative for the Wellbeing Centre, as “improving the mental health of Teesside students”. The event also had the goal of encouraging students to speak up about mental health.
The SU had a variety of exhibitors to cover multiple forms of mental health support.
“Arch”, a Middlesbrough based sexual violence charity that offers support to anyone affected by sexual violence and rape, was present. Abby Dowson, an Independent sexual violence adviser for “Arch” spoke of their counselling service, advisory service, and their “from report to court” advice and guidance for victims of sexual violence.
She also touched on the “Archway Project”, an independent sexual violence advisory service for those involved with sex work or exposed to sexual exploitation.
“The Live Well Centre”, described as a “one stop shop for physical and mental well being”, by their representative, Health and well being Navigator, Jordan Thompson, were also present.
Jordan described the centres services for those with Mental health issues. This includes drugs and alcohol services, a free Counselling service, and a gym with a free 12-week membership to help with mental health.
“The Live Well Centre” also has services for quitting smoking and sexual health, while also offering support to family members of victims of substance abuse.
Gary Pollard, Chief exec of “Men Tell Health”, was there to represent his organisation which focuses on the Mental Health of men.
This includes providing Men only support groups known as “Speak Easy”, a more relaxed approach to support groups, in which participants talk about whatever they want, and only if they want to.
“Men Tell Health” also provides an anonymous online live version of “Speak Easy”, that’s free to anyone, man or woman who is over 18, every Thursday evening, if they want to get support from a team of councillors.
All of this is done under the idea that, as Gary put it, “Mental Illness isn’t a choice, but recovery is.”
Abigail Henderson a representative for “Recovery Connections”, an organisation dealing with students in recovery from addiction was present. The overall goal of this organisation was described as “Trying to make university campuses more recovery friendly”.
This recovery friendly campus would feature peer led groups for students in recovery, mutual aid meetings, sober accommodation and anonymous meetings for alcohol and narcotics.
The organisation hosts weekly support “Drop-Ins” every Wednesday at Bar Zero, an alcohol-free bar.
If you’d like to find more information about any of the organisations mentioned, you can find their websites linked throughout.
UPDATE 3:57pm 13/03/2018: The quote from Gary Pollard of Men Tell Health was changed from “Wellness isn’t a choice…” to “Mental Illness isn’t a choice….”, which was his actual quote on the day. We apologise for this mistake.