Introducing LSST’s Student Mental Health ChampionsArticle Date | 12 May, 2021
By Stephanie Garcia, Mental Health and Well-being Officer, Memo House, London
As it is Mental Health Awareness Week (10 May – 16 May), we would like to announce the list of Student Mental Health Champions!
The Student Union president, Irina Barariu and the Engagement Team (Stephanie Garcia, Francesca Tommasini) have been working on this project to facilitate peer support, raise mental health awareness throughout LSST and build a transparent communication between staff and students.
In February, a group of students from each campus volunteered to attend a training session on Mental Health Awareness to become Student Mental Health Champions. In this training, the students were able to gather a wider understanding of mental health conditions prevalent within the higher education population and how poor mental health can have a negative effect on student life. The champions had the opportunity to share best practices to improve their mental well-being and provide support to their peers.
The main role of the student mental health champions is to be aware, look out for signs of any peer who may be experiencing mental health difficulties, ask if they can help, take time to listen and signpost to further support if necessary.
Research has suggested that peer support can have many benefits such as promoting positive feels of belonging and facilitating a shared understanding of strategies for coping with every-day life. By sharing experiences with peers, students can also challenge stigmas, raise awareness of mental health problems commonly experienced at university and it can result in increased confidence and self-esteem.
We are very delighted to announce the list of Student Mental Health Champions for each campus and believe that this is a big step forward to improving access to support and advice for LSST students.
Natalia Cernat, Student Mental Health Champion for LSST Wembley
How am I promoting mental health awareness among my peers?
Due to the current pandemic situation, I have been trying to engage more with my peers and try to offer advice, to listen to their problems and reassure them that I am there if they need to talk to someone.
I am also encouraging them to see things from a different perspective. For example, everything happens for a reason and make us more robust. We are learning from our experiences, and we are moving forward with our head up high. So, there is no need to stress over unnecessary things. Also, if peers feel very down and feel like sharing their thoughts, please contact me; I’m here to listen, or, where I can, guide you in the right direction to get you the help you need.
Also, I am offering practical help such as taking some time to have a walk to clear the mind and starting fresh to help build self-belonging and self-worth.
During my webinars, I am trying to engage as much as possible with everyone, not let negative energy take over; there is always space for a funny happening to lift the spirits.