DSU helps students in Leicester celebrate world mental health day

By Courtney Stevens

Monday 10th October was world mental health day and DSU planned a Walk to Talk event for students to talk about mental health and wellbeing.

The event involved a walk around Leicester with games and free pizza also involved to allow students to get outside in nature and meet new people.

Aliya Khan and Sarah Underhill getting ready for the event.

Speaking about the event, Sarah Underhill, the DSU advice and well-being coordinator said: “With it being the start of the academic year we wanted to do something that would introduce students to Leicester and provide a platform for people to get to know others.

“We want to support students who may be having a mental health difficulty or concern and signpost who those students can talk to whilst at university.”

After the impact of covid, the DSU is looking forward to holding more events to allow people to come together in person.

Aliya Khan, the DSU welfare executive added: “It’s important for students to have these social events to meet up with new people because over the last three years students haven’t had that aspect of university life, so it’s important to get back in.”

Speaking about what made them take on the role, Sarah said: “Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to do something within the education sector and this role comprised of everything I was interested in.

“We can provide academic advice for students whilst also doing outreach in regards to the psychology side of things, so it just seemed like the perfect role.”

Aliya added: “I really liked the idea of helping students and providing that support whilst they’re at university because I feel like it’s important to have that.

“We are kind of the bridge between the university and the students, making sure that information between the university and students is communicated back.”

Walk to Talk is one of many events the DSU has planned for this year, and it has teased about upcoming ideas in the pipeline for students to get involved with that they are in the process of finalising.

Pop-up shop supports World Mental Health Day

By Nicole Patrick-GibsonWMH

Leicester marked World Mental Health day by welcoming the public young and old to speak up and stand against discrimination on Saturday October 10.

A pop-up shop was set up on Shires Lane at Highcross to offer advice and services to people suffering from mental health disorders.

The shop partnered with various local organisations and charities for a day of tea and talk sessions and fun activities.

Grant Paton, media supporter for Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living, said: “We want to get the local community talking and challenge the stigma that continues to be attached with mental health.”

It is thought that one in three people suffer from a mental health condition in Leicester.

He added: “I would argue with that statistic and say it was a lot more. Most people will experience mental health issues at some point in their life. We’re here to provide a helping hand to these people.”

The event initially targeted adults, professionals and union care but also reached out towards more specific cases such as child carers in need.

Healthwatch Leicester offered a helping hand at the pop-up shop by talking with visitors about ways of improving mental health services in Leicester.

David Barnsby, development officer of the Healthwatch mental health department, said: “We want to do everything we can to make sure services are at their best and accessible in the local community.”

Nisha Khetia, volunteering at the event, introduced her concept of a ‘pledge wall’.

She said: “The idea is that everyone writes a happy message or quote on each brick of the wall and it gives a sense of positively building together.”

Her pledge wall also featured at Leicester train station during the week with the new “R U OK?” campaign which was raising an awareness of how a kind word could lift someone’s mood.

She added: “The wall has worked so well so far. It would be great if this could become a regular thing around Leicester.”

Iona Bareva, 24, attended the event to find out what mental health services could be of use to her.

She said: “I’m happy I came today, it’s given me a boost knowing there are suitable services for me.”

Information on mental health services in Leicester can be found at www.leicester.gov.uk/mentalhealth.