Natasha Devon MBE tells us about her new campaign, which is helping students overcome the challenges of talking about mental health.
According to the charity Student Minds, university students (who make up around 50% of young people aged 18-21) have lower levels of mental wellbeing compared with the general population. A contributing factor to this is the impact of living independently for the first time, leaving behind the familiarities and routines of home.
In recent years, the trend for student accommodation has been to make it more individually self-contained, with fridges in rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Yet the anecdotal evidence I hear on the ground suggests this is unhelpful to psychological wellbeing – a crucial element of student (and anyone’s) mental health is a sense of community and belonging.
We also know physical activity is key to maintaining mental, as well as physical, health. Fitness facilities in student accommodation are helpful, as is access to nature, with the benefits of exercise magnified when undertaken outside.
I believe people of all ages lack the knowledge and confidence to have conversations about mental health with colleagues and friends. That’s why I co-founded a campaign called
. Where’s Your Head At
The campaign aims to change the law so provision for mental health first aid is mandatory in all places of work, in the same way medical first aid is. We’ve already succeeded in getting the Health and Safety Executive to change their guidelines so that considering mental health in first aid provision is more explicit. A change to the law is currently being debated in Parliament.
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Where's Your Head At.
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