Courtsey of the Institute of Mental Health

10,000 signatures needed, a selfie post card campaign and a one day conference…… Josephine NwaAmaka Bardi responds to the question, why mental health in higher education?

‘The challenge facing individuals with experiences of mental ill-health is to retain, or rebuild, a meaningful and valued life and like everyone else, to grow and develop within and beyond the limits imposed by their cognitive and emotional difficulties’[1] .

My passion to Raise Awareness of Mental Health in Higher Education began from my interaction with students who had experiences of mental ill-health. It broke my heart to watch, listen and hear them cry. They cried and I cried because there was very little that I could do at the time. Following this experience I was motivated to write a blog piece discussing the importance of mental health awareness in higher education.

Soon after, I started the Raising Awareness of Mental Health in Higher Education campaign, after receiving a successful ESRC PGR grant to host an event. Nothing was more important than to host an event on mental health in higher education. An event that will bring a diverse group of people together to dialogue on the issue of mental health in higher education. Therefore, the Raising Awareness of Mental Health in Higher Education (RAMHHE) conference will be on the 10th October 2016 at the University of Nottingham. The conference is open to staff and student at the University of Nottingham, Warwick and Birmingham. It is also open to service providers and speakers from all over the UK.

Courtesy of the University of Nottingham

On Saturday 12 November 2016, the first ever Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) event on mental ill-health took place in Nottingham. The event was hosted by Josephine NwaAmaka Bardi, registered mental health nurse and ESRC PhD Mental Health and Wellbeing student.

The event offered an opportunity for University of Nottingham student volunteers to engage with members of the public to explore their views on the meaning and understanding of mental health. The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Saghir, was also in attendance, speaking to and taking pictures with the public and volunteers.

Despite the rain, the public were very supportive of the event, and our volunteers managed to speak to 150 consenting men, women and students who completed 150 surveys and questionnaires on three questions: