Monday 23-05-2016 - 09:49
New digital resources launched to end mental health stigma and discrimination for students
Think Positive, NUS Scotland’s mental health campaign, funded by the Scottish Government, has launched new resources aimed at tackling stigma and discrimination attached to mental health amongst students. The new resources come at the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, where NUS Scotland revealed a 47% rise in students trying to access mental health support services at universities and colleges across Scotland (see notes).
The resources include promotional materials for university and college campuses, and social media resources designed to address the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health, as well as provide advice on self-management for students. All the materials include characters whose stories come from real students suffering mental ill health in Scotland.
The launch comes alongside a rebrand of Think Positive’s website, which includes:
- A ‘self-management resource’ – detailing experiences of students living with mental ill health
- A guide on ending stigma and discrimination in colleges and universities
- Digital resources, including GIFs, Facebook cover images, and posters
- Information on mental health, and available support services.
Commenting, NUS Scotland Vice President Education Rob Henthorn, said:
“I’m delighted to be launching Think Positive’s new website and resources, aimed at breaking down barriers, and encouraging students to talk about their mental health. We’ve seen some real improvements in support and understanding of mental health in the past few years, and just this week we were incredibly pleased and encouraged by the appointment of Scotland’s first dedicated Minister for Mental health. However, it’s important that as well as looking at how we improve support services for those who access them, we also look at how issues like stigma and discrimination impact on students’ experiences and attitudes towards their mental health.
“Stigma and discrimination can have a huge impact on whether someone feels comfortable and supported enough to disclose mental ill health, and are often the difference between a person making contact with vital support services, or going without and feeling isolated and sometimes even ashamed. No student should be forced to struggle in silence, and as a society we need to be better at talking openly and positively about mental ill health, free from stereotypes or judgement. Think Positive’s work complements and builds on some of the great work we know is being done on campuses across Scotland to tackle issues surrounding mental health, to ensure that’s the case.
“By tackling discrimination and stigma head on, and providing resources to help people better understand the experiences and needs of students with mental ill health, Think Positive works to create a more supportive and inclusive environment at Scotland’s universities and colleges, for those with mental ill health. With these new resources, we want to make sure that the project continues to be relevant and accessible to students now, in a language and format that speaks to them, allowing our information to reach more students on new platforms.”
Maureen Watt, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Health, said:
"I'm pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to fund NUS Scotland to carry out this important piece of work. It's essential that we challenge mental health stigma wherever we find it, and Think Positive is an important part of those efforts. These new digital resources will help to encourage students to think about their mental health, and to be more open about any problems they’re having."
1. More information on NUS Scotland’s research can be found here, http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/new-figures-highlight-worrying-state-of-scottish-student-mental-health
2. Think positive is an NUS Scotland run project, with funding provided by the Scottish Government, and aims to improve student mental wellbeing and tackle the stigma attached to mental ill health
3. The resources are available on Think Positive’s new website at www.thinkpositive.scot