March 7, 2019, by Issy
University Mental Health Day 2019: Use Your Voice
Today, March 7th, is University Mental Health Day. It is a day that means a lot to me, being a student who suffers from mental health difficulties. The theme this year is ‘Use Your Voice’.
This can be done in so many ways:
- *Literally* use your voice to talk to people! Ask them how their day is going, what they plan to do later, whether they would like to go for a coffee, anything! Just initiating a conversation with someone who is struggling can be enough to make them feel less alone, and more able to reach out for help.
- On that note, use your voice to talk about how you feel! Talking can be such a good remedy, in terms of getting it off your chest, and talking to others can help form connections from shared personal experiences that you might not have been able to do had you not reached out. There are also so many university support services available whose sole aim is to listen to you and help you find your way to feeling more ‘you’.
- Use your voice to stand up for what you believe in. If you want mental health to be made more of a priority in your department, club, whatever, then say so! Change cannot be made without people speaking up for what they want: this has been a real aim of mine this year – it’s a huge reason why I wanted to write these blog posts!
Of course, there are so many more ways in which you can use your voice, but I wanted to keep this post short and sweet in order to get the message across that it’s okay to suffer from mental health issues, it doesn’t make you any less of a person, but it’s not okay to feel like you can’t talk about it, or seek help for fear of being judged – this isn’t your fault and is exactly why initiatives such as University Mental Health Day exist – to make change!
On a lighter note, I asked some of my friends around campus what they could use their voice for, mental health related or otherwise, and here were some of the responses:
- ‘To escalate any mental health issues to the relevant people and encourage my friends to do the same.’ – 1st Year Medicine
- ‘To actually have congratulated the other team for winning the race!’ – 1st Year History
- ‘Ive actually lost my voice, but I think I would learn to speak another language!’ – 2nd year History with German
- ‘To be the voice of a cartoon character, or be able to do many impressions to make people laugh – of course inspired by Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire!’ – 2nd year English
- ‘To end stigma and misunderstanding around mental health’ – 4th year/ CP2 Medicine