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.

The objective of the RAMHHE conference is to promote an anti-stigma and inclusive day, where people can express their views and perceptions of mental health and recovery through collective dialogue. In order to meet this objective, RAMHHE aims to provide a social learning space. ‘Recovery is about building a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by the person themselves, whether or not there are ongoing or recurring symptoms or problems’[2]..

‘Recovery is not about ‘getting rid’ of problems, it is about seeing the individual beyond their mental ill-health experiences, their abilities, possibilities, interests and dreams’[1].

There will be inspirational and motivational speakers with lived experiences of mental ill-health and recovery, mental health service providers with information on mental health and wellbeing and mental health practitioners to answer any questions that attendees may have. Information from the conference will provide an interdisciplinary insight into how to raise awareness of mental health in higher education.

I have also developed the RAMHHE16 selfie post card, so that people can handwrite or print, snap and tweet to #RAMHHE16.

I believe in the power of many, so in addition to the conference and RAMHHE selfie post card campaign, a petition had been submitted and we require 10,000 signatures before the government will respond to the call to debate the issue of mental ill-health in higher education.

Thank you to all of the people who have shown tremendous support by signing the petition and tweeting their selfie post cards to #RAMHHE16. It is my hope that with the combination of the three campaign strategies and other supporting efforts, we will collectively make enough noise to sensitise the government about the prevalence and incidence of mental ill-health in higher education.

 Josephine NwaAmaka Bardi is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, and an Economic and Social Research Council PhD student on the mental health and wellbeing pathway.  Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


[1]  Repper, J. and Carter, T. (2011) ‘A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services’, Journal of Mental Health, 20(4), pp. 392-411.

[2] Shepherd, G., Boardman, J. and Slade, M. (2008) Making recovery a reality. Citeseer.


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