Students Create Campaign for Mental Health During Covid-19Published on: May 12, 2020
The current uncertainty of ‘normal life’ has affected us globally. Like a storm, Covid-19 presented a level of threat but then hit us almost instantly causing devastation across the world. Lockdown was sanctioned quite drastically overnight in the UK and life for the foreseeable future looks very different to the life we are used to living in 2020.
We do not know when we will return to the workplace, when we may get catch up with friends again, when we can celebrate birthdays with loved ones or when we can enjoy a meal in a restaurant. But all that seems trivial when those who suffer with mental health issues are just thinking about the next time they may be able to safely receive the support they need to ease the anxiety of this uncertainty.
Reach Out Covid Campaign is a new campaign initiated by Portsmouth College students, which intends to raise awareness of those whose mental health has been affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Aimed at people between the ages of 13-25, Reach Out will be sharing the contact details for support organisations as well as personal stories from young people who have experienced mental health difficulties at this time. The campaign falls just in time for Mental Health Awareness Week which begins on 18th May, so the platform will be used to raise awareness of the mental health difficulties the pandemic has brought up for young people.
The campaign is almost completely run by myself with the support of fellow peers from Portsmouth College who have volunteered to use their voices to create our campaign video to launch this initiative. Many people from across the UK have also volunteered to share their stories about their experiences with their mental health during the pandemic. We hope to release these stories over the course of Mental Health Awareness Week in particular to enforce positivity and team spirit.
I am a volunteer at The Mix, a service that offers essential support for under 25’s, where I sit on their Youth Voice Panel. The opportunity for a rapid response grant from the global change organisation, Peace First, was advertised to us and I immediately felt that I could relate to this project. I submitted an application and had a virtual online meeting with a member of Peace First to discuss my ideas before I successfully received the grant.
I knew I wanted to launch a mental health based campaign as my own mental health has been affected by the pandemic and I wanted to support others through their difficulties too. I hope that the campaign can sign-post as many people as possible to any support organisations they may need at this time and to show other young people that they are not alone with their mental health difficulties – we are all in this together.
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Written by Eleanor Benford, student at Portsmouth College and founder of the Reach Out Covid Campaign