King’s College London joined the world in marking Mental Health Day on Monday.
KCLSU President Ben Hunt delivered a heartfelt speech at Strand Chapters to students by opening up about his battle with depression and anxiety.
He said: “I want to tell you that the perception of someone who seems high functioning is not always a reality. There have been a lot of times as a student when I’ve considered dropping out because of my mental health, or quitting my role as your Student Officer.”
“Daily interactions can be at best a challenge and at worst impossible. Your Union President has mental health problems.”
Ben also urged fellow students who are struggling with mental health to seek, and said that he overcame his anxiety by opening up to his close friends.
Speaking after the event, Ben told Roar: “I was very lucky, because as KCLSU President I have a duty of care to others, so I was bumped up to the top of the waiting list. But, as we know, there’s a four to six week waiting list for counselling services.
“I’ve had the privilege and courage to speak about it, so it’s important to encourage people to seek help in King’s mental health support.”
A survey carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS) found that 78% of students experienced mental health problems last year.
Stephanie Griffiths, head of King’s Counselling Service, said: “It was both courageous and significant that Ben told his story on International Mental Health Day.
“He’s seen as a high-achieving, sociable and diligent president of our union, but admits to having debilitating anxieties and symptoms of depression that underpin his capacity to function, severely affecting his mental and physical health.
“His message must have resonated amongst many of those reading and listening to his words and may now give others the strength to seek help themselves.
“Ben’s key message is that it’s important to share those feelings, either with friends, family, members of staff or trained professionals.”
Any King’s student wanting to access the counselling service can apply here: