Mental Health is an ever-pressing issue of our time. With increasing stress in the workplace, universities, schools and at home and with imposed austerity measures in their fifth year mental health and emotional problems are bound to dominate our daily life. Many people feel increasingly isolated. Social media, due to its competitiveness, is not really filling the gap.

On 7th of March De Montfort University celebrated Mental Health and Wellbeing Day with a number of tables displaying leaflets and brochures and with a talk by Jo Cooke, the Associate Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Student and Academic Services at Leicester’s De Montfort University.

Mental Health or ill health should not be regarded as something different to other forms of ill health. – Jo Cooke

Jo emphasized the importance of community and belonging in order to combat isolation and thus achieve good mental and emotional health.

The official banner at the DMU’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Day

We also met Mark Wheatley and Cath Crook from the Leicester City Council’s Mental Health Services. They handed out leaflets and talked to bystanders and passers-by. Both of them had previously participated in a newsroom event at DMU, which was organized by John Coster and took place in the Queen’s lab room.

Cath in a discussion with a visitor at the Mental Health stand

A number of other departments such as Counselling and Wellbeing, Documentary Media, Student Finance and Welfare and Sustainability at DMU and others had also put up their tables with brochures and flyers and were eager to engage with anyone who had some time to spare.

The sustainability stand with Karl Letten and Emily Wallis was particularly interesting to us because, besides homelessness, the environment is our chosen topics for the Community Media module at DMU and otherwise.

Karl and Emily at their Sustainability booth

We had an interesting discussion with them about plastic waste and how there are not many dedicated recycling bins at the DMU campus. ‘General waste’ is just not good enough. We gave the example of Germany, where there are five or six separate waste bins at peoples’ homes and in public spaces. Everything is separated at source. Karl kindly agreed to be available for an interview on sustainability and environment in a quiet room which he, as a member of staff at DMU, has access to. We exchanged emails and will certainly follow up on his offer.

Of course, we took photos and were armed with our mobile phones to capture anything of interest during the Mental Health Day event. Unfortunately, we did not bring a video camera to the event as originally planned, but there is always a next.

In the video below 13 people aged 18-25 talk about what it’s like to live with a mental health problem, and what helps them cope. You are not alone.