Category Archives: Mental Health

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2021

World Autism Awareness Week runs from 29 March – 4 April and with that in mind we have chosen Harry Wells as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Harry is a professional rugby player with the Leicester Tigers, a Tigers academy graduate, having gained experience at Bedford and Nottingham, he is now a firm fixture in the first team squad.

He has twin sons Oscar and Theodore and Oscar was diagnosed with autism in 2018.  Harry became an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society in 2020 and works to raise awareness through supporting campaigns and taking part in different challenges. 

He and Oscar were the stars of last year’s sporting challenge ‘7k for 700k’, this year it is known as ‘Super 7 Challenge’.  More details are here

For World Autism Awareness Week 2021 the National Autistic Society have created lots of information and things to do on their webpages including quizzes and challenges and ways to fundraise.

To find out more about Harry see here

To find out more about World Autism Awareness Week see here        

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2020

Youth Mental Health Day is on 7 September and with that in mind we have chosen Bella Ramsey as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.   Bella is an actress. She made her professional acting debut as the young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in the series Game of Thrones; she is also known for playing the leading role of Mildred Hubble in the 2017 CBBC television series The Worst Witch and she is currently the voice of Hilda in the Netflix series Hilda.  

Bella started acting as a hobby at the age of four, through Stagecoach Theatre Arts‘ Loughborough branch, which she attended for seven years, she then went to The Television Workshop, where she began auditioning for professional jobs with her first credited role being in Game of Thrones.  

Bella is an Ambassador for the Young Minds Charity, a charity whose aim it is to make sure young people are given the best possible mental health support and the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.   She became an Ambassador because she is passionate about talking about mental health and destroying the stigma surrounding it and she wants to use the platform she has been given to have to help.  

To find out more about Youth Mental Health Day see here  

To find out more about Young Minds see here  

To find out more about Bella see here  

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2020

24 July is Samaritans Awareness Day and this year it is known as The Big Listen, with this in mind we have chosen someone who has openly discussed their mental health situation, the actor and tv personality Denise Welch as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Denise is an actress and tv personality. She has featured in many well know tv shows including, Soldier Soldier, Waterloo Road, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Benidorm and Dun Breedin to name just a few.  She has appeared in many other tv shows and is a regular panellist on Loose Women.

Her mental health issues began following the birth of her first childShe refers to the clinical depression she suffers with as ‘The Unwelcome Visitor’ and although she has written before about her struggles her latest book is called ‘The Unwelcome Visitor – Depression and How I survive it’.

This type of book was something she would have found very useful over the last 30 years, within the book Denise reveals her ongoing journey from breakdowns to breakthroughs and through self-destruction to self-acceptance. It lets people know that ‘you’re not alone and you can live a happy and successful life alongside your illness’.

To find out more about Samaritans Awareness day see here

To find out more about Denise see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month – May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18-24 May 2020 hosted by the Mental Health Foundation with the theme of ‘kindness’. With this in mind we have chosen George Ezra as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Georgeis a singer, songwriter and musician.  He first started supporting the mental health charity Mind after seeing friends and family affected by mental health problems. He then began experiencing anxiety himself after returning home from an intensive touring schedule and started encouraging his fans to donate to us throughout his UK tour in 2017. He has recently also opened up about his diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) on his podcast ‘Phone a Friend with George Ezra and Ollie MN’.

He has supported various initiatives including Time to Talk Day, Mind’s ground breaking partnership with the EFL and the Mind Media Awards.

George has held a number of fundraising shows for Mind at London’s Union Chapel and the Royal Albert Hall, raising over £170,000 to help fund vital services.

George was announced as an Ambassador for Mind in July 2019 in recognition of his outstanding dedication.

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week see here

To find out more about MIND see here

To find out more about George see here

Providing our staff and students with a fair and inclusive environment

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan set out how we will provide an environment where you can flourish and achieve your full potential.

We want to see the university reflect the diversity of the community we serve.  To help us achieve this we are launching the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy 2019-22, along with our Action Plan. 

The key aims of the EDI strategy are:

  • Continue to focus on improving the numbers of under-represented groups across all levels of the university.
  • Aim to improve the educational achievement for all protected groups.
  • Ensure a more inclusive curriculum and culture.

We see diversity as a strength which should be encouraged, celebrated and promoted across our staff and student communities.

To find out more about the actions we will take view the full strategy and action plan.

Matt Dawson MBE at Avery Hill Campus, Wednesday 6 March, supporting University Mental Health and Wellbeing

You can join a Touch Rugby (non-physical) session where former England Rugby International Matt will provide skills and tips. Matt is the Health and Wellbeing Ambassador for Sodexo, our university partner.

There is a strong link between regular moderate physical activity and better mental health, and as part of our University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day we are encouraging everyone – students and staff – to take better care of their wellbeing.

On Wednesday 6 March Matt Dawson MBE will visit our Avery Hill campus, where all students and staff are invited to have a go at Touch Rugby – it’s non-physical – at a session where Matt will provide skills and tips.

You only need a pair of trainers to take part!

To take part in the session, please meet at the David Fussey Sports Hall at 1.45pm, the session will run until 2.30pm.

Matt will give skills and tips during the game as well as spending time with our Masters Strength and Conditioning students and meeting staff who are completing our new Mental Health First Aid training.

Matt retired from his highly successful English Rugby Union career in 2006. During his International career he toured with the British and Irish Lions and was part of England’s winning 2003 Rugby World Cup team.

In 2004, Matt joined the long-running BBC One quiz show “A Question of Sport” as a regular team captain. He appeared in Strictly Come Dancing in 2006 and was also the first Celebrity MasterChef Champion in the same year. Matt is an honorary President of the rugby charity Wooden Spoon. Since 2010 he has worked with university partner Sodexo as their Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing.

If you can’t make it to the session on 6 March there are lots of activities across our campuses on 7 March supporting University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day so please come along and get involved.


University of Suffolk: ‘Sport buddies’ boost mental health

Zumba class

Students have started a “sport buddy” scheme to tackle isolation and mental health issues at a university.

The University of Suffolk Students’ Union scheme gives six free sessions to those with difficulties and arranges for a volunteer to accompany them.

Co-ordinator Tiffany Evripidou said they wanted to “intervene” before mental health became a problem.

The union said its research showed attending sessions alone was a big “engagement barrier”.

“We’ve always believed in the power of activity and how it can have a positive impact on well-being,” said Ms Evripidou.

Volunteers at the Ipswich-based university will be given mental health and first aid training.  More