Aviva have a Community Fund in which local projects have a chance to win funding to help them out with their cause. Student Minds, a UK based mental health charity, have applied to win this funding and this post is aimed at encouraging you to vote for them and their project, Project Parent!
Student Minds provide an invaluable service across the nation to students in higher education, “empowering them with the confidence, knowledge and skills to look after their own mental health and support others”. They work with over 100 universities across the UK providing support groups, workshops and training to students to support their peers.
Voting for Project Parent couldn’t be easier; visit the project site page on Aviva here, register with an account and vote. I know people can be frustrated with having to create an account to vote but it literally takes two minutes and your votes will make a difference.
“How will my votes make a difference?” I hear you ask. Well, university is a challenging time, not least for students but also their parents, who I feel sometimes get forgotten about. For both students and their parents, it can be a difficult transition period. If you’re a student, you might move away from home for the first time to try and live independently, to figure out how to use a tumble dryer without shrinking your clothes and to try and figure out the studying/socialising balance (no one ever does, it’s okay). For me, it was a tough time and whilst I settled in well, I was battling my own mental health along the way. It was hard to balance everything and take care of myself at the same time and it was only after I was considering dropping out that I was directed to the student support services.
If you’re a parent, it can be emotional having a child leave home for the first time, regardless of how many times you’ve gone through it. You’re letting a precious person out into the world to make it on their own, to achieve their dreams and to have fun along the way. You might not see them too often, you might have concerns about their safety or how they’re getting on with their studies. It can be daunting for you, too. I asked my mum last night how she felt when I moved to uni and “naturally we were emotional about you leaving for the first time, and worried because wouldn’t see you as often. But we had no knowledge about the services your university provided with regards to support available. Whilst we had knowledge about mental health and were able to talk to you about it, we were worried you wouldn’t be able to access support away from home, if you needed it”.
This is where I believe Project Parent will excel. On top of the exceptional work Student Minds already do throughout universities in the UK (see what I said above), they want to launch Project Parent in an attempt to support parents through this transition period. They want to be able to provide parents with a set of resources to equip them with knowledge around mental health, increase their confidence and skills and in turn, enable them to have open and positive conversations with their children about mental health.
How will Project Parent do this? Student Minds explain it far better than me:
Project Parent will include:
– Creation of an information pack for parents
– How to start a conversation about mental health difficulties
– A motivational approach to support; switching advice with listening skills designed to empower
– Accessing support at University; understanding the landscape of university support services and how a student can access these
– Empowering and nurturing relationships; growing comfortable with boundaries and avoiding co-dependency
– Moving back and forth; managing the transitions between home and university
– Adapting to a new relationship structure; coping with change in roles and responsibilities
Student Minds believe that this will improve not only the mental health of students but also parents as well and I wholeheartedly agree. This would be an amazing project which would contribute to the work already being done to tackle mental health stigma. One simple conversation between a parent and their child could encourage them to seek the help they need at university.
If Student Minds were successful in obtaining this funding, they would be able to employ a member of staff to develop the project itself, all the necessary resources and digital tools and bring students, parents and experts together to ensure that mental health at university is being addressed by everyone.
So please consider it. Mental health is vital in everybody. Mental health affects everybody. It needs to be talked about more and what better way to address it than providing resources to enable parents to openly talk about it with their children.
For more information and to see the amazing work Student Minds do, please visit their site: http://www.studentminds.org.uk/. To vote, visit https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-2888 🙂
(featured images taken from studentminds.org.uk)