Students have taken to the SRC’s facebook page to voice their displeasure at the decision to change the name of the council’s Health Week to Positivity Week.
The critics argue that the planned week – the aims of which the SRC describe in an email as “primarily to raise mental health awareness, specifically feeling positive and being positive towards others” – is dismissive and condescending to those dealing with mental health issues.
Sarah Jones, who began the criticism on the SRC’s Facebook page, told the Glasgow Guardian:
“I think the name should be changed as it gives the patronising impression that if people with mental health issues just “think positive” then they will be well. It trivialises these conditions and takes the focus away from improving services at our university and listening to people with mental health problems and instead marginalises them as outside the remit of the week.”
The SRC’s Vice President Student Support, Jess McGrellis, in an email responding to criticisms made by Ms Jones posted online said:
“I want to clarify a few points that have been raised and then give some background about the naming-process. Firstly, the misconception that this is a rebranding of ‘Mental Health Week’. Last year’s event was ‘Health Week’ and that included a range of concerns not just focussing on mental health but including it. Before that the SRC have run SHAG Week which had a different focus again and so on. The point being that Positivity Week is intended as something new and not a rebranding and therefore not to be considered as a new name for ‘Health Week’ – the objectives of the week are different”
“The naming of Positivity Week was a decision based on discussion and agreement with different stakeholders. Names are very important and there are many different factors to consider when naming something. It was certainly not intended to offend anybody and my sincerest apologies to anyone that it has offended. The name was run-by the university Counselling and Psychological Services who are on board with the new direction of this project and indeed are excited about their involvement in it, as well as the university’s Equality and Diversity Unit.”
The original facebook thread is available here.