A student volunteer team has been trained to help support mental health at Bristol Uni

‘Ted’s Friends’ will use sport to foster a community spirit and aid student wellbeing

In partnership with mental health charity The Ted Senior Foundation, student volunteers have been trained to aid mental wellbeing at Bristol University. The team will be known as ‘Ted’s Friends.’

The charity was originally set up by the family and friends of Ted Senior, a medical student and Bristol University graduate who passed away in 2018.

“Ted loved the community spirit Bristol had and it felt right to launch the scheme where he spent three very happy years,” said Max, Ted’s brother. “I believe that through sport and a peer-based approach, the internal barriers that students face when seeking help can be overcome.”

The scheme will be focused on sports clubs within the university, with the group wishing to break stigmas and reframe how mental health is understood. They hope to trial events, initiatives and campaigns aimed at improving student wellbeing.

Cameron Watson, one of the co-chairs of the Foundation, explained: “For many, university is the first time they have moved away from home, and although technology can help, nothing can replace the social networks we all rely on to stay mentally healthy.

“Although physical sporting activity may look a little different this year, we believe a peer-based approach to mental health will foster a safer and ultimately more enjoyable environment within university sports clubs.”

‘We are over the moon with just how fantastic all the Ted’s Friends are’

Co-chair Rob Sidwell added: “A lot of us trustees graduated a few years ago and so can still remember how large a role sport can play in university life. We are over the moon with just how fantastic all the Ted’s Friends are. They possess those same qualities that Ted had; kindness, openness and a sense that you can trust them with anything.”

The Foundation hopes that this scheme, using sport as a tool to aid students’ mental health, will eventually be extended to other universities across the UK.

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