We spoke to the student who organised Liverpool’s upcoming Mental Health Conference
She says the uni still needs to work on its awareness of Mental Health issues
On Wednesday 12th October the student mental health conference is taking place for the second year running, from 1-5pm in the Eleanor Rathbone Building. The conference is for students and run by students, consisting of discussion groups and onstage talks throughout the day. The event will be full of students doing different degrees as well as individuals with doctorates. What better way to break down the stigma and share experiences than honest face to face conversations?
The event was set up by Dr Minna Lyons and then handed over to several students willing to talk about their experiences, as well as showing as passion for spreading awareness. We interviewed one of the event organisers Laura Abbate, third year Psychology student, to find out more.
She told us that during her time of study, the university has improved in raising awareness about mental health. When the event was first set up there wasn’t a lot going on, whereas now Nightline (a 24 hour confidential phone service) and the mental health society are there for students.
However, there is still a lot more the University of Liverpool could do. Whilst sitting in the student guild Laura drew my attention to the walls. “Look around. Do you see any posters related to mental health in the student home?”, she said, and indeed I didn’t. The only posters visible consisted of sporting events or societies. Posters put up for the Mental Health Conference had seemed to disappear. The societies based on mental health need to be advertised a lot better as a part of ending any stigmas.
Laura was confident that the event will continue after her and the others who set it up graduate, she told me that the group have “become very passionate about it, we want people to love it as much as we do.” Thankfully this shouldn’t be too hard as they’ve found a group of first and second years who are just as passionate. “It’s very important because there are people that appear after the conference and say thank-you. A student last year confided ‘I really needed to hear that, I really needed to talk about it’ which is what every student deserves to have access to.”
Even if people don’t attend the event, the aim is to start a discussion surrounding views on mental health, and to get students checking in with themselves about how they view mental health. Having a mental illness is a natural adaptation and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a natural thing your mind goes through to protect you, it doesn’t mean you’re a harm to others (a common misconception) or ‘weird’ and it’s so important for people to realise those with a mental health condition are just people too.