DMU society to tackle stereotypes surrounding mental health conditions

By Perry Johnson

The stereotyping of people with mental health conditions is being challenged by one of De Montfort University’s welfare societies who have launched an event on campus this week aiming to do just that.

The Neurodivergent Society at DMU, which focuses on embracing mental diversity, hosts a drop-in session like this from 2 to 5pm at the Gateway every Friday for its members.

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Sam Spencer McFadden (Right), Events Manager for the Neurodivergent society, with fellow members

Chairman of the society and third-year Fine Art student at DMU Karl Bufanio was inspired to create the society after watching a talk by autistic artist Jon Adams, who identifies as ‘Neurodivergent’.

Mr Bufanio, said: “We came up with the motto ‘unity in difference’ because having labels like autistic or schizophrenic can get really isolating; so the idea was to bring these people together and get rid of them barriers.”

The society focuses primarily on its members’ welfare, with the committee receiving health training from the Students’ Union.

Mr Bufanio added: “I got myself mental health first aid training as well and I have been trained by the disability team to know exactly where to point them and what needs to be done; so we both have mental and physical help.”

The society is led by a full committee of ‘Neurodivergents’ and has focused on training people up, ready  to run in the student elections in March.

Currently in its second year of running, the society received an award from DMU for the ‘Best Newcomer’ after just one year of operating.

Mr Bufanio said: “I am just so proud of the people that have helped me build it. We lost all of our committee at one point and it’s just been such a stressful time but – we have made it.”

For more information about the ‘Neurodivergent’ society at DMU or to show interest in it, the team can be contacted at DMUNeurodivergentsociety@gmail.com.

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