“Tell her to pull herself together...”
“All she needs is a good kick up the backside…”
“Forget it. It’s just hopeless...”
As a father and carer of a daughter, of mixed race heritage, who had dropped out of her A-level studies because of her mental health issues, this was often the sage advice given to me by friends. Not.
That was five years ago. A lot has changed over that time in terms of levels of awareness and help for people with mental health conditions. But a lot of stigma and ignorance still remain - just read some of the twitter debates that raged over the recent tragic suicide of the actor, Robin Williams.
The forthcoming event, Mind Matters, at London South Bank University (LSBU) on Wednesday 8 October 2014 aims to let students and staff know that there is someone available to talk to who can provide appropriate help, support and advice. This help includes signposting a range of services available both on and off-campus and how they can be accessed.
Held during Black History Month and linked to World Mental Health Day (Friday 10 October 2014), this event also aims to debunk some of the mysteries and persistent myths and mysteries about mental health. We will also discuss the real issues:
- One in four people will experience a mental health condition in the course of a year
- Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health condition in Britain
- The proportion of BME mental health patients is three times higher than the UK’s BME population.
Being an international university with a diverse student population, of which 52 percent are black and minority ethnic (BME), we are aware of the challenges facing students from a range of backgrounds.
Given the importance of the student experience, we realise that supporting their mental well-being is of vital importance to achieving their qualifications, improving their employability and realising their ambitions and dreams.
Just as important, however, is the knowledge that if they are experiencing mental health issues there is someone there to talk to. Help is available.
Five years on, I am pleased to say that general awareness around mental health issues has improved, but there is still so much we can do together – professionals, users, providers and carers – in partnership.
My daughter has now chosen another route for her life and, with it, a different but just as satisfying dream. And this experience has taught me the most invaluable of lessons: never give up hope.
More details about the event at LSBU can be found here.