10 October marks World Mental Health Day (WMHDAY), an important moment in the year which encourages people from all over the world to acknowledge the importance of their, and other people’s, mental health and wellbeing.
First introduced on 10 October 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, WMHDAY was created to raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental health. Since its inception, the campaign has been successful in bringing mental health to the fore and encouraging more people to speak out and be open about their personal experiences. This year’s theme is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World, which encourages individuals from all walks of life to consider the issues children and young adults are facing in the world today.
SAE strongly advocates WMHDAY and the associated campaign to help promote mental health and increase awareness about the issues associated with mental illness. As a creative media education institution, SAE understands the importance of mental health awareness, as mental wellbeing has a significant impact on the experience of our students. Mental illness is prevalent amongst students in the UK, with one in four suffering from mental health problems.
It is our duty of care to ensure our students have an effective support system in place during their time studying with us to inhibit the effects of a challenging and often stressful course. We believe in having an open environment that encourages both students and staff to seek help if they need it.
Saad Qureshi, UK Dean at SAE Institute said:
“Marking WMHDAY helps us reflect on what more we can do. It’s really important that we help students succeed and progress in their studies. We have around 30% students who have a learning need, many of whom struggle with mental health problems. This is well above the sector average. We will soon launch our new Student Support Strategy 2018-2021 to improve our support for student wellbeing adopting the healthy body, healthy mind approach. We will seek to align ourselves to the forthcoming Mental Health Charter for the higher education sector.”
Over the past year we have embarked on a student support strategy at all four of our UK campuses. SAE London partnered with Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest (CHWF) earlier in the year, and as a result students are offered free sessions with fully-trained support advisors every other Wednesday. On top of this, staff at all campuses are in the process of formal mental health wellbeing training that will aid their ability to deal with the issues our students face.
One thing our strategy focuses on is promoting an active lifestyle among staff and students. As a result, campuses have organised a variety of group activities for students and staff that benefit mental health such as yoga and a ‘Tea and Talk’ session. Audio students from SAE Liverpool regularly go rock climbing. The sessions provide a great opportunity for students to build their team working skills, but above all they have fun and are able to to leave the stresses of the day behind. It’s also a great way to build confidence and students get a great sense of achievement when they reach the top.
“The support was very good and I found the staff went to great lengths to meet my needs. I found other than the meetings the on hands support from multiple staff helped me understand what was needed to get through the course and without the constant supervision I may not have got through the course, the fact that my tutors were always open to questions was the best part of the support and really made me feel like they cared about my well being.” - Brendan O'Brien, BA/BSc Audio Production
We encourage both students and staff to utilise the support network in place at SAE and to prioritise their mental health.