WHATSOC? Student Minds!

With the start of a new year comes new pressures: trouble keeping up with your course, missing home, problems with your flatmates. The list can go on and when all […]


With the start of a new year comes new pressures: trouble keeping up with your course, missing home, problems with your flatmates. The list can go on and when all these instances add up it can seriously effect mental health. With that in mind, Soton Tab sat down with Sabina Zavoianu, President of the Southampton branch of Student Minds, to talk about their work.

student mindsWhat is Student Minds?

Students Minds is the students’ mental health charity, based in Oxford, and we are the University’s branch. In a nutshell, students’ mental health and wellbeing in general can be significantly improved by peer interventions (basically by talking to other students) and we are trying to promote wellbeing by encouraging students to talk to us and to eachother and to support their friends. Specifically, we run support groups for eating disorders at the moment and we are planning a workshop for depression. We also run general campaigns to raise awareness towards mental health.

Are those support sessions student led?

They are run by volunteer trained student facilitators. Research shows that in terms of informal support groups, students will be more comfortable talking to a peer rather than a professional.

Making friends

Making friends

How can people sign up to become facilitators?

There are applications later on in the year, followed by the short interview, then training, and that’s it, they are qualified facilitators!

Is there any other way students can help the organisation? Can people donate to the charity?

Well, of course they can donate but we would prefer them to donate some of their time, join some of our events and promote mental health around campus. They can easily help by volunteering for our events.

What events are you running in the near future?

Next week we have one of our biggest events: the ‘Look After Your Mate’ workshop, delivered by the Student Minds staff who will be coming over from Oxford. It will be held on Thursday 9th October at 6pm in Room 54/7033. The event is meant to show ways of supporting a friend who might have a problem. The next day we will have a stall on the concourse for the World Mental Health Awareness Day. We also have ‘Walks for Well-being’ every other week. This is the idea of our amazing Publicity Officer- the walks are an opportunity for students to walk around the Common, get some fresh air and talk to other people.

What’s the best thing about Students Minds?

Apart from feeling that you actually make a difference, I guess it’s the fact that you meet new and amazing people every day.

Student Minds 2

Interested in getting involved?

Email [email protected] for information about campaigns, and email [email protected] for information about support groups (it’s a confidential email address, meaning that only facilitators read those emails).

They’re also on Facebook, Twitter (StudentMindsSU) and Instagram (studentmindssoton)!