Pharma undergraduates launch mental health campaign

University students concerned by the effect of exams and coursework on their mental health and that of their peers have launched a new 'Know silence, no stigma' campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

The BPSA student's campaign on Facebook
The BPSA student's campaign on Facebook

The campaign, which launched on social media last Friday, has been devised by the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA).

It aims to tackle the stigma of mental illness among students in higher education, with the pressure of study deadlines and exams among the issues that can cause mental health problems or add to existing ones, according to the student body.

The campaign seeks to create an open dialogue about mental health, encouraging those who are suffering in silence to speak out and help spread awareness of the issue.

It also attempts to help people understand that it’s OK to ask for help, and to support others.

The importance of talking about your feelings, managing stress, time management, and recognising that your wellbeing is more important than your grades are among the campaign’s key messages.

Others include the need to keep things in proper perspective and supporting other students.

One key message will be selected every Monday as the ‘topic of the week’ on the campaign’s Facebook page, with relevant content and advice posted during that week.

It is an online-led campaign, being run by the BPSA’s Western Area (UK), and will continue until mid-June, to help raise awareness of mental health during 'exam season' - the most stressful part of any student’s year.

The success of the campaign will be measured through the number of 'likes', comments and shares the various campaign posts receive, as well as statistics on number of engagements and individuals reached.

It is also being promoted on Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

To help focus on university students, the campaign is being shared with pharmacy societies and heads of schools.

Bella Shah, a second-year student at Cardiff University, and one of the campaign leads, told PRWeek: "As a group of engaged students, and future pharmacists, we were inspired to be a part in transforming lives. We understand the struggles students face during the difficult exam period and understand that these can lead to mental-health issues."

She added: "The stigma attached… can trigger silence. Our vision, through this campaign, is to eliminate this silence to prevent the stigma. We aim to achieve this by focusing on six core exam-related topics, over six weeks, which we will advise, engage and signpost our audience on. We hope the awareness raised will be able to support individuals, break stigma and interrupt silence."

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