The University of Sheffield’s staff and students come together to fight mental health stigmas

An employee of the University of Sheffield’s Student Skills and Development Centre has organised a Mental Health Awareness event to promote a positive message and get rid of stigmas.

Alice Hargate, 22, an assistant for 301 Student Skills Centre put together a two- hour event in the Students’ Union Auditorium to share a positive message about mental health for both students and staff.

Miss Hargate said: “I just thought it would be great to have an event that involves both staff and students. There tends to be some events either for one group or the other, so we thought it could be helpful to incorporate the two, to have both sides talk about mental health.”

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the event included a presentation by Adam Stewart, an involvement co-ordinator for Cygnet Health Care. Mr Stewart was joined by two teenage patients who shared their stories and difficulties of dealing with mental health.

During the talk Mr Stewart said: “Mental health disorders are often stigmatised even by health care professionals. It’s good to have other young people come and talk to their peers, it shows that it’s not something to hide from. Everyone has mental health, just like physical health.”

The event, publicised by different departments, but not relying on any of them, was officially organised by 301, but it was Miss Hargate’s personal idea.

301 is not a mental health support system. In fact, the centre it’s only meant to help students develop academic skills through workshops, like writing essays or developing a study method.

Miss Hargate also said: “Basically because I work at 301, we sort of did it on the back of it, but the whole staff was really great and supportive about it. We had team meetings and talked about it a lot.”

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