Edinburgh University Students Association’s (EUSA) Welfare Council has kicked off wellbeing week this week, running events from stress management and sex and relationship workshops to healthy eating and fitness seminars.
EUSA Welfare Council has also launched its #LetsTalk campaign, aiming to encourage students to be open about their mental health, whilst decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health through positive conversation.
Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) said it had made mental health a leading priority. EUSA President Jonny Ross-Tatam highlighted the significance of wellbeing in his manifesto, stating that “wellbeing is everything, encompassing all aspects of university life.”
The Student spoke to Andy Peel, the EUSA Vice President for Societies and Activities, who said that the university is now at a big turning point as regards mental health.
“The Mental Health and Wellbeing campaign is more than just raising awareness; it is about opening people’s eyes and getting them to talk. We need to take a holistic approach to mental health, as both students and staff are affected by mental health issues.” Peel told The Student.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing campaign is a collaboration on multiple levels between different societies and sports clubs, designed to showcase what is happening on campus and encourage students to get involved in the activities.
Several different activities have been scheduled for students throughout the week. Lectures and workshops have been put together by different societies and sport clubs, including EUSA’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Society, the Edinburgh University Yoga Society, the Hare and Hounds Club, the Netball Club, the Women’s Rugby Club, the Boat Club and the Edinburgh University Counselling Service.
“I am very surprised by the level of engagement shown by the different societies and sports clubs,” Peel told The Student.
Officially beginning on 8 February, the campaign is already picking up momentum. It has been publicised on multiple online social media platforms such as Facebook, where more than 400 students have expressed their interest in participating in the events.
EUSA has also undertaken outreach to students on different campuses. Peel told The Student: “Students will see the campaign, recognise its value and hopefully will not dismiss it.”
Many sports clubs have focused on mental health and wellbeing throughout the year, through events like stress busters, while many new societies that focus on mental health and wellbeing are also being set up.
The Sports Union is also focused on raising awareness of mental health within sports clubs. Alex Luetchford, the Participation Officer of the Sports Union has encouraged all sports clubs to organise fundraising events about mental health.
While societies and sport clubs have demonstrated extensive commitments in terms of embedding mental health and wellbeing into a long-term project, Peel added: “there is always more that can be done.
“Having a week that focuses specifically on mental health and wellbeing to highlight the preponderance of the issue is very important and I hope that next year, when Jonny and I are long gone these priorities will still be focused on and there will be a week to shine light on this really important issue,” Peel said.
Image: Patrick Down