What does the launch of the Let’s Be Honest Report mean to your elected Officers?
Jamie Smith (President):
“This report and the Let’s Be Honest campaign is extremely close to my heart. Every single one of us has mental health, just the same as we all have physical health. It’s a common theme we all share, we should support each other and should expect the same level of care as we would for any physical ailments we have. There should be no stigma around mental health.
“In the ever-changing higher education landscape it’s so important that we keep students at the centre of everything we do – this report will start a conversation about what we, as students, need and the support we deserve. The recommendations have come from us and they are for us and I could not be prouder of how open we are here at ARU.”
Laura Douds (Vice President, Faculty of Science and Technology):
“The Let’s Be Honest report is so incredibly important to me. As a student, I suffered with mental health conditions myself, and I didn’t receive the help I feel I needed from the university. I filled out the survey when it first got released, and I had no idea it would end up this big and this amazing, and this potentially influential.
“Now as an Officer, and as someone who still suffers with mental health issues, it really gives me a sense of pride to be involved with something like this. I am so incredibly excited to be a part of this, to try and make things better for the students, to make things the way I and countless other students needed them to be. The report signifies that the ARU Students’ Union is taking mental health seriously and that we will not stand for it being brushed aside as a personal issue any more.
“We are taking a stand and we are going to make things better for people one way or another. We are letting students know that they are not alone, that it’s okay to talk to each other about these things and that it’s okay to not be okay. We are doing what is right for our students and showing them that we care.”
Kirran Khan (Vice President, Business):
“I feel that this report transforms the way that student mental health is thought about at ARU. I’m proud to work on implementing the recommendations as they are vital to improving students’ university experience.
“Mental health affects so many people at ARU, and beyond, in a huge way - over half of the students we surveyed were worried about their own mental health. I believe that something needs to be done to better support these students and the Let’s Be Honest report is a brilliant step in the right direction.”
Johanna Korhonen (Vice President, Arts, Law and Social Sciences):
“This report and the recommendations are so important because we know that a lot of people struggle, but speaking about mental health is still often an issue. Some people don’t feel comfortable or safe to admit that they have mental health issues and some don’t even want to admit. It is crucial that we raise awareness of mental health issues so that people feel accepted and can speak out if they aren’t coping.
“Besides raising awareness and opening a space for discussion, the Let’s Be Honest report gives the University concrete recommendations that they can pursue and put in place to make the overall student experience better.
“Talking about things might feel irrelevant when someone has to wait for weeks to see a counsellor or they don’t even know where to go for help, and that is why these concrete recommendations are key. I am so proud of everyone involved and very excited for the positive changes the report will bring.”
Eliza Torres (Vice President, Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education and Faculty of Medical Science):
“Mental health and wellbeing is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s the attached stigma and bias to the topic that is appalling. It is of the utmost importance that, to allow for a more supportive and open community, we continue working to eradicate the taboo surrounding mental health.
“Furthermore we must continue to be innovative in the way that we support each other within the ARU community. ‘When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We’ even illness becomes wellness.’ (Malcolm x)”