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06 September 2010
Nathaniel Smith, a 3rd year neuroscience student, has been awarded a place on a new committee forming to try and create understanding around mental health & wellbeing issues on campuses.
The launch of the committee is the latest step in a campaign known as The Mental Wealth Project, which aims to establish a national network of student mental health champions.
Nathaniel was selected from candidates throughout the UK to be one of ten committee members during the 2010/2011 academic year. Each member will act as ambassadors for student mental health in their region, and will meet termly to discuss concerns and develop campaigns.
The committee is being sponsored by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, an organisation which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of depression, and reduce stigma around mental health.
Naomi Garnett, managing director of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, said, "The Trust has supported students for some years through their website Students against Depression (www.studentdepression.org ) and see the work of the Mental Wealth project as an innovative opportunity to further address mental health issues on campus".
The committee is currently creating a freshers week campaign pack for student unions. Nathaniel, who volunteers with Nightline and spoke out on Radio 4 recently about student mental health, said: "Freshers week is a challenging time for students, and while there is some good support available, it's not really enough. By being involved with this project I'm looking to develop a student-led mental health program at Cardiff, and share progress with others around the UK."
The committee will also help run a campus wellbeing conference in March, as part of The Mental Wealth Project. One supporter of the organisation is Liz Miller, author of Mood Mapping, and the 2008 Mind Champion, who said: "It's great to see students being so proactive. Ignorance around mental health is still widespread, and if students themselves can address this then it benefits us all."
Mental Wealth UK is a new non-profit organisation that has been founded to drive the wellbeing agenda on campuses, amplify the student voice, and support the development of a nationwide network of mental health & wellbeing initiatives. The organisation partners with universities to implement innovative, peer-led schemes to support the wellbeing of students and staff, and build 'mental wealth' on campuses. More information can be found at www.mentalwealthuk.com.
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