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Dancing and dog walking for mental health event on campus

Uea(su) and Student Services (STS) will hold a day of events and drop in sessions at the Exhibition Space in the Hive on March 5 to promote positive mental wellbeing. There will be a whole range of activities, from dog walks to a free tap dance class. The Vice Chancellor and STS staff will also take questions in the evening.

Alicia Perez, the SU’s activities and opportunities officer, said: “Mental health and wellbeing has been a priority for students at UEA for a number of years now. As an annual event, this year we wanted to ensure students feel like they have a place to take five minutes for themselves and those around them. During the day, students can get a free hot drink and plant for their room, alongside finding out where to get support and where to signpost others. We want the UEA community to come together and reflect on what more we could be doing to support those facing mental health issues and we are excited to have the Vice Chancellor and Student Services answering student questions. 

“The conversation about student mental health, the increasing work load for associate tutors and pressure on academic staff remains a focus for us and the student community. By recognising university mental health day, we want to create a safe environment where open conversations can happen, as well as challenge the university against their promises. We encourage students to submit their questions during the day and come along to the Q&A from 5pm to get their voices heard.”

It comes after UEA students Jonathan Walker (23), Jess Fairweather (20), Nick Sadler(25) and Theo Brennan-Hulme (21) were all found dead in the space of just 10 months. In two cases these were found to be suicides. Mr Brennan-Hulme’s inquest is still pending. Three of the students were found on university grounds.

Concrete launched the Mental Health Crisis campaign in September last year. Opening up the conversation around mental wellbeing is one of five points in the campaign’s manifesto, which has gained support from the mother of a UEA student who took his own life, several MPs, the Chief Executive of Norwich City Council, and prominent figures such as mental health activists Stephen FrySir Norman Lamb, and Brexit activist Gina Miller. UEA’s Vice Chancellor Prof David Richardson also supports the campaign. In a statement he said: “Removing stigma and being able to have honest conversations about mental health is absolutely vital.”

You can find out more about event on March 5 here.

If you have been affected by a similar incident or know someone who has you can contact STS by calling 01603 592761 or emailing studentsupport@uea.ac.uk.

Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email jo@samaritans.org

03/03/2020

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Chris Matthews