Roar’s big mental health issue: Where King’s stands one year on

LAST November, King’s students and alumni came forward to give Roar their personal insights into issues relating to mental health at the College.

As Roar gets ready to attend the Mind Media Awards tonight, shortlisted alongside the Guardian and Cosmo for our mental health reporting, we look back at progress since the mental health edition.

Since then, Andy Allford, Head of Sport, Health and Wellbeing at King’s, has launched King’s Speaks Up, a project that aims to get the College addressing mental health issues. Elephant in the Room, its most recent campaign, has a similar theme.

KCLSU has also made it possible for 25 King’s students to get training in Mental Health First Aid, which will be primarily offered to students in supportive roles, such as Resident Life Assistants.

A new Community Welfare Fund introduced by the Union is also helping groups and individuals fund their own welfare campaigns.

This month, the College’s Fit to Sit policy has also been under scrutiny.

On 23 October, after Disabled Students Officer Nicole Walsh spoke out, the Student Council unanimously passed a motion for the review of Fit to Sit.

Maciej Gmerek, a King’s student who sat his August exams after being in psychiatric care, said he felt physically and mentally unprepared for his exams. This policy is soon undergoing reform.

Furthermore, King’s is now re-affiliated with Nightline, a charity that offers confidential support to students across the country. King’s originally disaffiliated with the charity due to a lack of funding, but a motion passed at a recent Student Council meeting has guaranteed its affiliation for the next five years.

Next semester, KCLSU is also hoping to implement a peer support system run by professionally trained students at the Strand and Waterloo campuses.

As well as this, the College for the Medical Students’ Association is looking to further increase the size of its team.

The final area of improvement, highlighted by Sebastiaan Debrouwere in last year’s issue, was the need for the training of personal tutors. However, there is not much evidence of its progress.

Something troubling you? Get in touch with the Samaritans. Go online to www.samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.

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