Bournemouth University runs a series of events to raise awareness of mental health issues by marking World Mental Health Day, Eating Disorder Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week.
The numbers of staff, students and members of the community attending the events increased from around 500 to 600 people from 2015/16 to 2016/17.
Over 80% of attendees in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 said that they learnt or experienced something at an event that will change the way they work, live or think.
Students on related programmes are encouraged to attend the events. For example, psychology students are expected to attend relevant events, and students taking optional units in Applied Clinical Psychology and Eating, Weight and Behaviour Change are required to attend and reflect on an event. This gave students the opportunity to hear personal stories from people with first-hand experience of the services that they may go on to provide. Student feedback was captured through videos, including:
- Occupational Therapy students and a Social Work student talk about the impact of attending the Equality and Diversity events
- Occupational Therapy students, Media student and Mental Health Nursing student talk about attending Eating Disorders Week events
- Local School student and teacher and a Psychology student talk about attending the World Mental Health Day events
Capturing the events
To have useful reference material afterwards, a Wakelet was created for each event, providing slides, recordings and social media support:
- Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 (Early Intervention in Eating Disorders Conference)
- Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017
Learning points and reflections
Linking the programme to the students’ programmes helped to increase attendance, and provided valuable learning opportunities for students. Capturing students’ feedback through videos has helped to bring to life the importance of the work, and to provide authentic voices for viewers.
Partnership work between the Bournemouth University Equality and Diversity Service, academics and external partners such as the Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust has helped to make the programme of activity successful over the last couple of year. Opening the events to the wider community helps public sector bodies to work together to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Creating awareness and acceptance of mental health difficulties on campus can help to create an inclusive environment where students feel able to access support as early as possible.