A peer-based support group for students dealing with mental health problems including stress, anxiety and depression has been formed at USC’s Fraser Coast campus.
Active Minds is a student-run, not-for-profit international organisation that aims to remove the stigma associated with mental health on university campuses.
Founders of the Fraser Coast branch, Nursing Science students Kay Rampton and Kelea Wyatt, said it was important for students to speak openly about their mental health.
“Active Minds is for all students, whether they are dealing with a mental illness, supporting someone who is, or might be just having a difficult time at uni,” Kay said.
“Students need to know they have a peer-led support group that understands the pressures of university life coupled with the responsibilities of home life,” she said.
“There is always someone here to lend an ear or to help them to access available services such as counsellors, psychologists and support from USC’s Student Wellbeing.”
Mental health is a struggle that is very real to Kay, a former teacher aide who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression following a series of family tragedies, including the death of her husband during her first year of university.
“There is nothing more important than your wellbeing. I am happy to share my journey with other students to show that that having a mental illness does not mean you cannot follow your dreams and achieve your goals.”
She said seeking support was the most important step.
“I truly would not have been able to continue my degree without USC’s network of support services which helped me develop strategies to cope with the impact of mental illness while managing the demands of university life.”
Kathy Cool-Murphy from USC Student Wellbeing said Kay was an inspiration to others through her success in her studies and her dedication to helping others as a student success leader and founder of Active Minds on campus.
“At the beginning, Kay doubted her ability to succeed and the demands of university life would often exacerbate the symptoms of her mental illness, making it harder for her to cope,” Ms Cool-Murphy said.
“During her studies she also had to overcome the significant trauma of suddenly losing a loved one which had a huge impact on her mental wellbeing.
“Kay did not give up, instead she showed enormous courage and reached out for professional help.”
USC Active Minds will hold regular meetings for students and will host events during the year to generate awareness about mental health.
For details visit the USC Active Minds Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
— Clare McKay
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