Action Mental Health has teamed up with Queen’s University Belfast to mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week with a full range of activities and programmes dedicated to promoting better mental health across all aspects of the lives of Queen’s staff and students.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 takes place this week with a range of events, seminars and workshops taking place across campus at Queen’s University on a range of topics including cyberbullying, the importance of sleep and the role of mental health nurses.
A recent survey by the National Union of Students and Union of Students in Ireland found that 78% of students said they had experienced mental health issues.
In February 2019, Queen’s Students’ Union launched an ambitious new campaign to tackle mental health issues facing students – ‘OMNI’ – under the resounding call to action “all in for mental health”. Queen’s has adopted a new, whole-university approach addressing mental health and well-being for staff and students that will help inform a new institutional three-year (2019-2021) Framework for Mental Health.
Brian Parkes, People and Culture Director, Queen’s University Belfast, said, “At Queen’s, we are committed to creating a compassionate culture that supports and promotes the mental health and wellbeing of all our people and we are delighted to partner with Action Mental Health for Mental health Awareness Week 2019, with a range of events that will bring staff and students together to raise awareness, drive conversations and show their support for better mental health.”
As part of the week’s events at Queen’s, a host of local personalities will lend their profile and voices to a panel to highlight the wide range of issues surrounding mental health and well-being, including former GAA star Oisin McConville, who will discuss his experience with gambling addiction. Cool FM’s Paulo Ross will also give an insight into his experiences while caring for his mother when she developed mental health difficulties.
The panel will also feature BBC Newsline anchor Tara Mills and Radio Ulster commentator Linzi Conway alongside Action Mental Health’s everyBODY service’s Project Worker Deborah McCready, who will focus on one of the themes of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 – body image – how we think and feel about our bodies.
Mental Health Awareness Week is also the springboard for Action Mental Health’s Great Big Purple Picnic fundraising drive which focuses on ways to improve knowledge of positive mental health and well-being. Queen’s University staff and students will be supporting the effort by hosting their own Great Big Purple Picnic in the university’s iconic Quadrangle on Wednesday, May 15.
The university will also launch its annual Pedometer Challenge with proceeds raised going to Action Mental Health and staff will be invited to enjoy a range of events including holistic therapies, a performance of the university’s staff choir and a guided tour of Botanic Gardens.
Action Mental Health Chief Executive David Babington expressed delight at the collaboration between the charity and Queen’s University.
“It’s gratifying to see such a prestigious institution shining a light on mental health issues and taking the lead to cultivate and promote the mental well-being of their staff and student body.”