IHW students help develop university-wide mental health anti-stigma campaign

Published: 14 March 2018

Students from IHW's MSc Global Mental Health and MSc Mental Health have contributed to the important task of creating an anti-stigma campaign, and presented their work at a recent event

The University of Glasgow’s Equality Outcomes 2017-2021 include an objective to develop a campus-wide framework on mental health and wellbeing.

Part of this work involves creating an anti-stigma campaign for staff and students. At a meeting convened by Dr David Duncan (Chief Operating Officer and Mental Health Champion), a number of questions were collated for further consideration in order to inform the content and delivery of a future campaign. Students from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing (MSc Global Mental Health and MSc Global Health) undertook to seek and synthesise evidence to address key questions.

Their initial findings were presented at a seminar attended by senior managers and Students’ Representative Council, stimulating vital discussion about key opportunities and barriers. The group has now submitted a full report to Dr Duncan.

The key findings were:

  • There is some evidence for different needs for different student groups and staff
  • Confidence that disclosure of mental health issues will not have a detrimental effect on one’s treatment in the workplace is vital for staff to feel more comfortable in seeking help
  • Increased staff awareness/training in mental health and signposting may be helpful for their interactions with students
  • Brief resources such as a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ should be developed
  • More contact with people who have experienced mental health difficulties could significantly reduce stigma
  • Studies are clear that there are cultural differences, but not necessarily how these can be addressed; this may require adaptations to existing approaches such as peer support
  • We need to take different approaches for different genders, and combating gendered stereotypes may be a useful start
  • To avoid trivialisation there needs to be education on symptoms and treatment, but also the real life consequences and stories of people with mental illness
  • In addition to ongoing core messages, awareness campaigns should be updated regularly so that staff and students feel the University is taking an active approach to tackling mental health stigma
  • Awareness campaigns could include innovative elements such as fundraising
  • Despite some negative consequences of the use of social media for mental health information, it is thought that the benefits outweigh the potential risks
  • Signposting to relevant resources and services should be tailored to individual needs
  • Summary information should be collated regarding service usage in response to signposting

Congratulations to the students who completed this excellent work - Christopher Adams, Helen Beaumont, Liliana Hidalgo Padilla, Tina Kenning, Jack MacLean, Thea Walker and Ashley Wright. Their contributions will have a valuable impact on the university’s future mental health strategy.

If you would like to find out more about the report, please contact IHW's Dr Breda Cullen or Dr Julie Langan Martin.

First published: 14 March 2018