Anglia Ruskin University offers students advice on World Mental Health Day

Published: 12 October 2005 at 14:15

As students from across the East Anglia region start a new semester at university, those at Anglia Ruskin University (formerly APU) have been given handy tips on how to help ease their transition from home life to life at university.

Activities for students and staff - devised for the University's Cambridge and Chelmsford campuses on World Mental Health Day (10 October) - gave students and staff information that can promote their positive mental health and well-being. Amongst other activities, the cross-campus event featured demonstrations from individuals trained in massage techniques and stress relieving therapies, and included sessions on meditation presented by the University's Chaplains.

Anglia Ruskin's Project Development Officer for Cambridge Helen O'Sullivan explains the message behind the event:

"As part of our Aim Higher/Mind the Gap project we are trying to help students and staff to actively promote their own mental health and well-being. Other activities will focus on working with staff to promote good practice in terms of mental health issues for all students, including those students new to the University who are in their all important first year.”

"The Mental Health Foundation is asking people to talk freely about their mental health and for us this means our students. We are keen to discuss with them about how to stay well mentally, how to cope with stress and how to stay balanced as they undertake the new routine that will be associated with studying in higher education.”

"We want to help our students to make the most of the lifestyle changes and the new opportunities that will be made available to them. In short, on World Mental Health Day we want to take the opportunity to encourage students to look after themselves. We want to talk to people about the possible stress levels they may encounter as they take on new study responsibilities and explore with them what they can do to minimise the stress."

The objective of the Aim Higher/Mind the Gap project, run from the University Centre for Teaching and Learning, is to work with teaching and learning support staff to best meet the learning needs of students experiencing mental health issues while at Anglia Ruskin University. Along with other initiatives, this project is aimed to help improve student retention and achievement rates.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, anti-depressant prescriptions have almost trebled in the past twelve years, and rates of anxiety and depression have been on the rise among teenagers for 25 years.