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Bristol students schedule new mental health protest on same day as UoB open day

‘Management needs to accept responsibility’


Bristol students are set to take to the streets again this month, in the latest protest at the University's perceived failure to provide adequate mental health support.

The demonstration is being organised by a host of student groups and will take place on the afternoon of November 21st. It has organised by a number of student groups including Bristol Labour Students, Support Our Services (SOS) and Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity Group.

Things could get a bit awkward for University bosses though as the protest will coincide with an open day for prospective postgraduates.

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The last "March for Mental Health" received national interest

In a press release to announce the march, SOS claimed that the continuing 'dismissive attitude' shown by University bosses towards the 'growing mental health crisis' on campus has made another protest necessary.

'The University fails to acknowledge many of the problems on campus because it would mean accepting culpability for the problem', they added.

SOS also slammed the recent consultation over the University's future mental health strategy, claiming that the consultation document was filled with 'long meaningless statements' and lacking any firm commitment to change.

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The consultation regarding the new Wellbeing Strategy

A collective statement from the organisers reads: 'We have decided to organise this demonstration for a number of reasons that have come to light in the last few weeks.'

'These are as follows: the lack of action from the University after the last demonstration, and the University’s denial that they are creating an environment for students that is actively harming their mental health, which includes the financial pressure from high rent in university-owned halls.'

'Although there was a recent consultation, this was disappointing and long-winded, meaning that few students filled it out.
Due to the severity of the problems at the university, many campus groups have decided to work together to campaign for change. These issues affect the whole university, and after the last march, we wanted to build on its success by bringing people together as a community.

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An image from the march held in May

For their part, the University acknowledged the right of students to air their views but stuck by existing plans for improvement. A spokesperson told The Tab: 'We share the passion and concern our students feel about mental health and wellbeing and respect their right to peaceful protest.'

They continued: 'We have received a great deal of very helpful feedback from students – including the march organisers – on our draft Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. We look forward to working with our students to shape the more detailed action plan that will underpin the delivery of the strategy.'

The protest will be the second of its kind in less than a year. The last 'March for Mental Health' in May attracted hundreds of students and received national press coverage.

You can find out more about the plans for the march here.