By Shafina Khatun (SSA Cavendish)
Before you read I need you to take a moment to free yourself from everything you have been exposed to about mental health. Forget how it’s portrayed in the media, films and any negative views you may have surrounding mental health. Do not proceed until you have done so!
Have you done that? I hope so. Now, what is it time to do?
It’s time to pledge: Your sabbatical officers for the student union took on board the pledge to end mental health discrimination. So you saw the road shows taking place in each of your campuses. You most probably wrote a public pledge to change something about yourself to improve mental health. It then ended with the last of the final pledge signing event at Cavendish which really opened my eyes as to how much stigmatism surrounds mental health. As I sat in the rows hearing Miriam (VP of Cavendish), Kaled Mimouni (student union president), Fiona Malpass (President of student minds) and Professor Damien Ridge (lecturer at Westminster University) speak with enthusiasm and passion it awakened something within me. I think if you had been there it would have moved you as well.
It’s time to change: Your mental health should be balanced with your physical health. However I must ask, if we suffer a physical injury how hard would we work to get rid of our pain? Compare this to the stress you go through as a student when you know it is affecting you psychologically. Do you push through as best as you can ignoring that internal pain or do you try to heal yourself?
It’s time to learn: How much do you really know about this topic?Read, watch and listen to the many material available.
It’s time to cope: If you feel you are suffering but can’t speak to family and friends then don’t be disheartened because the University offers counselling support. There are many government organisations and volunteer groups offering support as well.
It’s time to thank and praise: If you know someone who was or is suffering, praise them for their hard work in continuing every day. The next time you see your sabbatical officers, Kaled, Miriam, Muaz, Rhianne and Jayesh be sure to praise and thank them for opening up your eyes. Read how it all began http://miriamshanna.wordpress.com/?ref=spelling. They’ve worked to sow the seed but rest assured they will finish what they set out to do. Every plant needs the right resources to flourish fully.
Finally, with small steps we can make ourselves and those around us aware of how serious mental health is. We’ve started with a pledge and will end with an action. No more suffering in silence. We deserve to get better but we can’t do it on our own. It’s time to talk.