Leeds University: Setting an example for campuses across the country when it comes to mental health
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Festivities have been taking place in student houses, bars and clubs over the last few months as people welcomed the end of assessment season, the academic year and the wait for results. But some students will have little cause for celebration this summer. Exam season is a stressful time of year for everyone, but for some the stress becomes overwhelming, and anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental illnesses take their toll. In these instances, the counselling services and academic concessions provided by universities can be life savers. But with cases of mental illness in the student population on the rise, university counselling services experiencing long waiting lists, and greater social and economic pressure on students to get high grades, universities can and should be doing more to address mental health issues. Fortunately for those attending at Leeds University, students there have taken a proactive stance towards mental health, exemplified by the Union’s Mind Matters society. MM was set up in 2008 by former students Dominic Martin and Edward Pinkney. Edward, who went on to found Mental Wealth UK, said the original aim of the society was “to bring mental health out of the shadows”. The idea for the society came about after a meeting with the head of the counselling service alerted him “to how pressing the issue of student mental health was”. “University is a really stressful time for anyone, and it can be such a lonely time for students who may think that they are the only ones who are experiencing mental health problems” says current society president and mental health nursing student Cassie Moseley.
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