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Wednesday 11 February 2015

Time to change - England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, one in ten young people will experience a mental health problem and nine out of ten people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.

These are just some of the facts* around mental health that campaigns such as Time to Change, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination aim to address to help change behaviour.

Mental health awareness is particularly close to home for Sam Spencer, Solent Students’ Union VP Welfare, who is running a Mental Health Awareness Week in March 2015. In his very personal account about his own mental health problems, Sam tells his story:

“Having spent two years on my university course with feelings of desperation and despair, including multiple attempts to end my own life, I eventually told the sabbatical team what I was dealing with. This was the first step into a series of small successes which helped me to realise that I’m not broken and it’s not a bad thing to be having these feelings. Opening up and having that conversation was a great start.”

Sam recommends:

“Have a conversation with someone about it. Today is perfect, it’s Time to Change. Take 5 minutes out of your day to talk to someone, ask how they’re doing and be genuine about it.”

Now more comfortable with himself and his surroundings, Sam is running a Mental Health Awareness Week on campus from 23 to 27 March 2015. He says:

“No-one can truly feel what I’m feeling, there is so much stigma around mental health that it’s understandable why no-one can understand. Often the best thing you can do is just listen. You don’t need to be a counsellor to support anyone. Just be a friendly ear, shoulder to cry on, generally be a caring friend.”

For more information about his campaign, details of how to get involved, or even just to have a chat with him, contact Sam on 02382 016424 or email su.welfare@solent.ac.uk.

Read Sam’s full story>>

If you relate to Sam’s story and want to speak to someone, remember the Students’ Information Centre (RM050) can help. Phone them on 023 8201 3427 or email students1st.infocentre@solent.ac.uk.

* The facts are quoted from the Time to Change website.