When Hannah Thompson began life at the University of Gloucestershire in 2018, she had no idea who Mind were, or what they were about.
Now, she wants everyone to know just how helpful they are.
“I had only heard of them but when I realised I needed additional support for my mental health, they were one of the first searches that came up,” she said.
Thompson had been struggling with anxiety and depression and needed professional support from somewhere.
“I quickly found a contact to email and asked how I could go about counselling. They responded fast and within a few days I spoke with one of the main leaders at Mind to organise an appointment.
“After a very long phone call and lots of questions, they were able to determine what kind of counseling I needed and which counselor would be best suited to me.”
The university footballer is just one of a large number of students in need of mental health support. One study showed that there has been a recent rise of 94% in demand for services at universities across the country, and Thompson is keen to let other students know help can be found elsewhere.
She said: “Mental health is rising rapidly among students especially and they should be specifically aware of the options available to them – not just what the institute offers.
“The quicker they can get in touch with these services, the better.
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Through our partnership with the @EFL, our new ‘Have Your Mate’s Back’ campaign is raising awareness of mental health among football fans and encouraging them to look out for their mates. Fans, players and clubs are all supporting the campaign by wearing their shirts backwards to support better mental health in football. If you, or a football fan you know, want to get involved with the campaign, join us by taking a photo while wearing your football shirt backwards and sharing it on social media. Be sure to tag us, and your local @EFL football club, including the hashtags #HaveYourMatesBack and #OnYourSide.
“Overall, I spent about seven weeks with Mind. The programme helped me in ways I never thought possible.
“I am now in such a happier and healthier place, physically and mentally. Without them I am not sure how or where I would be now.”
In an attempt to raise awareness for Mind, the university women’s football team hosted a charity five-a-side tournament, welcoming around two hundred students and gathering a total of £752.
Thompson, who is part of the team’s committee, suggested Mind as their charity of choice to repay them for their work and the support they offered her.
“The tournament was a huge success,” she said.
“I am so grateful for those who participated and came to watch. The money raised will go towards funding these services and ensuring people get the help they need and deserve.”
Club community officer, Katie Christopher, organised the tournament in a bid to not only help the charity, but other students as the first semester comes to and end.
She said: “I think the timing of the tournament was very important.
“I chose a date where the majority of teams did not have fixture, but also a date which was at the end of a very long semester.
“There have been lots of deadlines and students have been away from families for a while so their mental health won’t be that great.
“Hopefully the tournament would have allowed them to take stress off their minds – even for one day.”
If you find yourself in need of mental health support, please don’t hesitate to contact Mind.
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