Mental Health Awareness Week 2018
By Gemma Jones, SRUCSA Student President, and Shady the SRUC Black Dog 🐾
Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week, I would like to take the opportunity to invite all of us at SRUC to discuss our experiences with our own mental health, and how we can all support each other when we aren’t coping so well. As someone who has struggled with my own mental health, when I started my work as SRUCSA Vice President last year I was keen for us to take steps to help others understand and help each other.
In partnership with SANE - a mental health charity, which offers out-of-hours support through the SANEline (0300 304 7000, 4:30-10:30pm daily) advertised across SRUC - we launched our Black Dog Campaign, with Shady the SRUC Black Dog, the mascot of our campaign, taking up residence at Ayr Campus. Students helped SRUCSA choose the name and coat for the statue, which was unveiled in November 2017 by Wayne Powell, along with SRUC executives and staff, SRUCSA and its Disabled and Mental Health Society. At the same time, Shady’s Twitter account @shadythedogSRUC was launched and continues to send out daily tweets about mental health and wellbeing at SRUC and beyond.
Since then, SRUC and SRUCSA have worked together to support healthy bodies and minds, both directly to students and staff and through events, projects and awareness raising. From this, we are seeing a greater awareness from students and staff about mental health; as SRUC students and staff start to talk about their mental health issues and take better care of their own wellbeing, stigmas are being broken down and we are coming closer together.
This year SRUCSA have submitted an application for the Healthy Body Healthy Mind Award, reporting on all of the great things we have done this year across all our campuses. You can find out more about Healthy Body Healthy Mind and SRUCSA’s work on our website:
This week, five Shady “puppies” will be adopted by our other education campuses, to raise further awareness of Shady’s campaign, how important mental health care is, and how to get help. These wee black dogs will be used by SRUCSA and SRUC at various events and awareness days and for projects on mental health and wellbeing. Together with a new SRUCSA ‘Hey You’ poster and business card campaign, they will help us remember how mental health impacts many aspects of our lives and those of the people around us. Look out for them and feel free to take pictures and tag them with #ShadytheDogSRUC
I am very proud of what SRUC and the Students’ Association have started, as I take up my new role as Depute President at NUS Scotland I hope to hear about how the work continues. SRUCSA look forward to continuing the campaigns to support our students as much as we can, no matter where they are on their SRUC journey.