News and Events
24th April 2012
Tuesday 24th April sees the launch of this year’s Open Your Mind campaign across Northern Ireland. As part of the campaign, the project is launching a report containing important new findings in relation to mental health, based on information gathered from over 1500 students who attend university or college in Northern Ireland. These findings demonstrate that: Over a quarter (27%) of students state that they currently or previously had a mental illness.’ Yet conversely: One in five (22%) say they have no experience of mental illness, either personally or through a friend or relative. Depression remains the most commonly known mental illness (97%), closely followed by eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia (94%) and self-harming (94%). The study commissioned by the Open Your Mind project also highlights certain risk factors that the student population of Northern Ireland believe impact on mental health and well-being, and these include drug/alcohol misuse, managing finances and worrying about job prospects. President of the project's lead partner NUS-USI, Adrianne Peltz, stated: “So many people who leave home for the first time and are far away from friends and family can experience problems in relation to mental health. This type of scenario and the pressure of holding down a job while facing the stress of having to pass many exams and complete assignments can have a profoundly negative impact on some people’s lives, and this report’s findings are very telling. “There must be no stigma attached to mental health matters and the Open Your Mind team at NUS-USI have done, and continue to do, an absolutely fantastic job in equipping students with the skills to help them assist others to combating the devastating impact of mental health problems. “The launch of new campaign sees the team taking their training techniques on the road to help students right across Northern Ireland. They deliver a very valuable service and, given the increasing career and financial pressures many students face on an everyday basis, their work is becoming more and more important every day.” Deputy Chief Executive of the project's other partner organisation MindWise, Anne Doherty, said: “These are very interesting findings which clearly show how many people have or have had a mental illness, yet they also starkly illustrate a potential lack of understanding of this very important issue, with around one in five people surveyed saying they had no experience of mental illness personally or through someone close to them. “Both these key statistics perfectly illustrate the importance of the work that the Open Your Mind team do in raising awareness and training students in relation to mental health matters.” The survey also identified some positive points, the main one of these being the fact that students were able to identify a good support network that they could turn to if needed, and these include their GP, family and also friends. Not only were the students able to speak of the support network they know is around them, but also they mentioned the knowledge they now have in terms of protecting their mental health through exercise, talking and stress management techniques. This research is being launched during a Northern Ireland wide mental health awareness campaign, which is student led and for the students. The first few events will be: Tuesday 24th April- Queens University BelfastWednesday 25th April- Belfast Metropolitan CollegeThursday 26th April- University of Ulster, Coleraine campusTuesday 1st May- University of Ulster, Magee campusWednesday 2nd May- University of Ulster, Belfast campusThursday 3rd May- University of Ulster, Jordanstown campus Open Your Mind will be demonstrating techniques to help address mental health matters the events that will take place in April/May across all the colleges and universities in Northern Ireland, for example a head massage service will be provided on each campus. ENDS FOR INTERVIEWS OR FURTHER INFORMATION: Adrianne Peltz, President, NUS-USI, 9024 4641 (work) or 07979 888289 (mobile)Anne Doherty, Deputy Chief Executive, MindWise, 028 9040 2323 (work)Mike Day, Director of Nations, NUS, 0131 556 6598 (work) or 07977 114625 (mobile) Notes to the editor: 1. Open Your Mind is a five-year peer-led mental health project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. It is managed by NUS-USI and MindWise and aims to promote awareness of mental health issues amongst students in further and higher education across Northern Ireland, reduce the risk factors related to mental illness through awareness-raising and to overcome the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. 2. NUS-USI is the representative body for over 200,000 higher and further education students in Northern Ireland, based on a trilateral agreement between NUSUK and USI. NUS-USI defends, extends and protects the rights of students across the region. 3. MindWise is a leading membership charity which supports those affected by severe mental illness and other mental health difficulties and promotes early intervention. The charity offers a range of recovery based services including, supported housing, community resource centres, advocacy services, carer support, volunteer and self management programmes all of which are modelled with the aim of transforming lives and developing new visions for mental health by challenging stigma and discrimination and providing quality services and support.
23rd April 2012
Open Your Mind launches fifth annual campaign
The fifth annual Open Your Mind campaign is taking place across all further and higher education colleges from 24th april- 23rd may. The campaign will launch a web app for students and a key piece of research which investigates student mental health.
The campaign events involve a number of ley elements all of which support the three main aims of the Open Your Mind project;
Raising awareness of mental health among students
Decreasing the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health
Signposting students to services within their own campus and in the local community
The events are as follows;
Tuesday 24th April - Queens University Belfast
Wednesday 25th April - Belfast Metropolitan College, Titanic Quarter campus
Thursday 26th April - University of Ulster, Coleraine
Tuesday 1st May - University of Ulster, Magee
Wednesday 2nd May - University of Ulster, Belfast
Thursday 3rd May - University of Ulster, Jordanstown
Thursday 10th May - CAFRE, Enniskillen
Tuesday 15th May - South West College, Omagh
Wednesday 16th May - Southern Regional College, Newry
Thursday 17th May - South Eastern Regional College, Downpatrick
Tuesday 22nd May - North West Regional College, Derry
Wednesday 23rd May - Northern Regional College, Newtownabbey
At each of the events students will be able to avail of free head massage, free lunch and goodies like stress balls, banner pens, and resources for support services. Students can pick up a copy of the free research and check out the free web app.
30th January 2012
Open Your Mind Campaign Launched with App Competition
11th January 2012
Open Your Mind programme is recognised through Ulster EDGE Award
First and Second year Students from the University of Ulster can now register for the Ulster EDGE award. For more information please log onto http://edge.ulster.ac.uk/.
28th October 2011
Open Your Mind Year Four Report Available
Please click here to see a report on all of the activity that took place within the Open Your Mind project in year four - 2010-11.
10th October 2011
Today (World Mental Health Day) sees the launch of the second Open Your Mind Mental health and well-being survey. Ipsos Mori has been commisssioned by NUS-USI to conduct research into students' attitudes towards mental well-being in Northern Ireland. Students across all further and higher education campuses will be receiving the link to this survey.
Your views would be of great value to this research and we would appreciate if you would give your time to help us with this.
In order to access the survey, you will be a sent a link from your college or university please click on the link abd enter your email address as requested. A unique link will be generated and forwarded to your inbox. Once you receive this, please click on the link which will activate the survey.
By way of thank you, everyone who participates in the research will have the opportunity to be entered into a proze draw with the chance of winning one of five £200 amazon.co.uk vouchers, at the end of the survey.
10th May 2011 - Open Your Mind campaign in Queen's University Belfast
Photos below by Shannen Nugent
PIPS Programmes Women's Aid
Samaritans Open Your Mind Volunteers
28th March 2011 - Programme of Events in Queens
Tuesday 12th April
10am - 3pm Mental Health and Well-being Fayre - SU Enterprise and Foyer
11am - 3pm Free head massage - SU Enterprise
12pm Free lunch - SU Foyer
8pm "Little Miss Sunshine" - Movie Screening in the Lounge, Elms
Wednesday 13th April
10am - 3pm Open Your Mind Information Stall - SU Foyer
12.30 - 1.30pm Balloon Release - Front of QUB Main Building
2.30 Guided walk through Botanic Gardens to PEC followed by FREE trial of facilities
3-6pm "UP" Movie Screening in the Space
Thursday 14th April
10am-3pm Mental Health and Well-being Fayre - SU Enterprise and Foyer
11am-3pm Free head massage - SU Enterprise
12pm Free Lunch - SU Foyer
2-3pm Managing Exam Stress - Clubrooms
3-6pm "Pay it Forward" Movie Screening in the SPACE
3-4pm 'Fitness Taster Session' in the Lounge, Elms
14th March 2011 - Open Your Mind Campaign in Queens
The fourth annual Open Your Mind campaign will take place on 12th, 13th and 14th April. We want you to tell us what your favourite happy, uplifting and feel-good movies are. Three of these will be chosen and shown in the Space in Queens Student Union. Please post your ideas on http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136053030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggestions can be made until Thursday 24th March 2011.
21st February 2011
NWRC Students take part in Open Your Mind training
31st January 2011
A group of students from Queen’s University Belfast has been volunteering with the Open Your Mind project since October 2010. As part of this role students receive training in a number of areas such as mental health awareness, stress management and media training.
The students completed their media training in North West Regional College. This training will help them with their campaign events which are set to take place in Queen’s University in April 2011.
Open Your Mind is a five-year mental health awareness project for students across Northern Ireland. The project is a partnership project between NUS-USI and MindWise and is kindly funded by the Big Lottery. Each year students from different colleges and universities come together to organise campaigns to help
- raise awareness of mental health problems among the student body;
- decrease the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems and
- signpost students to relevant support within their campus and local community
8th September 2010
Mind Your Head Resource Re-launched
3rd August 2010
24th May 2010
Open Your Mind Well-being Fair in NWRC - Strand Road
20th April 2010
Open Your Mind Campaign and Art Exhibition in University of Ulster
Musicians entertain the crowd at Magee
Open Your Mind Volunteers at Coleraine
Ruth Baxter from UU Belfast won first prize in the Open Your MInd Art competition
Sinead Smyth won second prize in the competition
8th March 2010
Open Your Mind Mental Health campaign launches in University of Ulster
The Open Your Mind project will host its third annual mental health awareness campaign for students across the University of Ulster.
Students are invited to come along to the events detailed below, where they can pick up a free head massage, stress management techniques and invaluable study skills support. A range of other organisations will be on hand to provide information and support.
- 10th March 12-4pm - The Loft, Students Union, Jordanstown Campus
- 16th March 12-4pm - the Diamond, Coleraine Campus
- 24th March 12-4pm - the Students Union, Magee Campus
25th January 2010
Open Your Mind Launches Survey Report into Student Mental Health