Student run mental health campaign Be Mankind is back in Bristol

‘A campaign like this was needed for male students here’

Following the success of last year's campaign, Be ManKind is returning to Bristol to encourage men to talk about mental health issues.

Third year historian and Be Mankind Founder Olivia Huxtable will be working with the SU and sports clubs for an awareness week in March, hosting sports nights and mental health first aid training for committee members.

Third year Olivia Huxtable with GB rugby 7s captain Tom Mitchell

Third year Olivia Huxtable with GB rugby 7s captain Tom Mitchell

Speaking to The Tab Bristol, Olivia explained the focus of the campaign on sport. "I think there’s too much focus on using sport to get a better body instead of its effects on our mental wellbeing and the endorphins. Sport has saved me more than I can say, so I want others to realise the impact it can have."

Whereas last year Be ManKind drew on pictures, this year’s campaign will also include videos of men talking about mental health for the first time.

Olivia said of the change: "It’s more daunting for men take part this time. I’d like a bigger range of ages involved too. The main point is that no one is immune to mental health problems."

Last year's campaign featured quotes and images of Bristol students

Last year's campaign featured quotes and images of Bristol students

University students, lecturers and sports coaches are all involved to demonstrate how any man can be affected by mental health problems. By opening up about these issues, the campaign hopes to show that people are willing to listen.

Asked about the most memorable moment she's experienced since starting the campaign, Olivia replied: "Guys frequently talk to me about mental health, which is such a wonderful outcome that I never expected."

This year videos of interviewees will be recorded for the first time

This year videos of interviewees will be recorded for the first time

"But my favourite moment was when a random girl messaged saying she showed her 13-year-old brother the pictures and thanked me for allowing him to understand he wasn’t alone in suffering. I don’t think anything can top that. "

The campaign returns at a time when mental health is high on the agenda for the University of Bristol. In the 2016-17 academic year, six students took their own lives, prompting UoB to invest £1 million in student services as part of their 'Time to Change' pledge.

Over 30 students featured in last year's campaign

Over 30 students featured in last year's campaign

Thinking of taking part but unsure what you have to do? Simply have a talk for around 30 minutes about your time at university with Olivia alone, with a friend or a group.

"Everything is said in 100% confidentiality as it’s just an opportunity for you to talk. At the end of the chat, you go through the video footage to see if you’re happy with any snippets being featured in the final compilation video. If you’re not happy, the footage gets deleted.

If you’d like to take part in the campaign, you can sign up via the google document here.

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