“I’m James, I’m a second year Translation student at Cardiff University. I first got involved with Mind Your Head through working with the Welfare department of the Students’ Union where I met Rosie and Lewis our Co-Presidents. I’m now Secretary of the group and took part in the launch week of Mind Your Head week and helped facilitate a Mind Your Head café which we’re doing again this week for the “Alright Mate?” campaign.
“I mostly got involved to try and make a difference with mental health. I lost a friend to suicide recently so it’s a big motivating factor for me to get involved and try and make a difference. When I was growing up my mum had pretty ill health which progressed into me needing to seek help through my sixth form and eventually through to university when I got here. I struggled with anxiety surrounding that for a while, and stigma was definitely something that prevented me from seeking help because I felt like it shouldn’t have been an issue or should I just get over it, or my mum’s problems were worse than mine.
“But once I started seeking that help it made everything much more manageable which is another reason why I got involved with Mind Your Head and the projects funded by the National Lottery because I felt that we needed to try and break down that idea that we can’t seek help just because we’re men, and in general as well because there’s a stigma for everyone but it becomes two-fold when men are supposed to be more put-together and stronger and can’t talk about their health for various reasons.
“It’s important to me that projects are funded like this, and that people get involved with this and talk about their own issues as motivating factors for other people to get help. A success story is always better than someone just telling you to get help or just to feel better because you can see that things work and that the services are there in order to improve your own health.”
Speaking up about mental health is a STRENGTH, NOT a weakness. In conjunction with International Men’s Day, Cardiff University Students’ Union launched the #AlrightMate? campaign. The campaign is their response to the alarmingly high rate of male suicide in the UK, which is the biggest killer of men under 45. They want to help put an end to these eye-opening statistics and break the stigma of talking about mental health.
Cardiff University Students’ Union received £9,600 of National Lottery money to train six staff members, who deal with students who may be in crisis, to deliver a ‘Suicide Prevention Skills for University Students’ programme to the student body. The National Lottery Community Fund spoke to Cardiff University students to talk about their experiences to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people.