Deputy News Editor
The event is the second in the QMU’s new programme which aims to start a conversation about mental health and society.
The Queen Margaret Union (QMU) continued their mental health campaign on 10 October by hosting a conversation on media and its influence on mental health.
The organisation Elephant in the Room was designed by members of QMU’s Campaigns and Charities Committee to spread mental health awareness and make students aware of support services. Elephant in the Room have begun a campaign to talk about mental health called The Big Conversation.
The Big Conversation provides a safe, informal, and comfortable environment for students to discuss their opinions and feelings relating to mental health, according to their Facebook event page.
The Big Conversation’s second event was called Mental Health in the Media and hosted in the reflection room of QMU. The audience discussed mental health awareness in mainstream popular culture, including how celebrities use social media to publicize certain mental health issues.
Grace Mary, senior honours psychology student and Convenor of Elephant in the Room, said it is important students talk about mental health because university is one of the biggest life-changing moments anyone can experience. She said that media perception on mental health has changed in the last 10 years, and that celebrities play a key role in starting conversation.
“Lifestyles do not differentiate on mental health,” Mary said. “Everyone has mental health and we relate to all things we see.”
Students between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to suffer from a common mental disorder than previous generations, according to figures from the Education Policy Institute.
The organization also states student suicides have increased with 4.7 students per 100,000 students committing suicide in the 2016-2017 academic year – an increase of 52% from the 2000 - 2001 academic year.
Mary said Elephant in the Room is passionate about mental health awareness and wants students to be aware of their own mental health before it becomes a crisis situation.
Students who want to get involved with Elephant in the Room or The Big Conversation can attend committee meetings every Monday at 4pm in the QMU boardroom. They can also attend an event called Creative Sessions twice a month that involves activities designed to relax and help relieve the brain of anxiety and depression. Past events involved making mental health postcards, writing poetry and cuddling dogs.
The next Creative Sessions event will involve painting along with Bob Ross.
Students at the University of Glasgow who are struggling with mental health issues or worried about someone they know can contact University of Glasgow Counselling and Psychological Services or Glasgow University Nightline.