Student mental health film festival
We hosted a student mental health film festival to help fix the disconnect between the lived experiences of university students and the mental health services and support they receive.
We’ve heard a lot about student mental health. We hear that one in four university students are facing depression and anxiety. We hear that university drop out rates have trebled. While these statistics are important, we could certainly hear more from the students who have actual lived experiences with mental health issues or concerns and their perspectives on how to improve support for mental health.
Giving students the space to creatively display their perspectives allowed them to talk about the issues faced but in their own unique way.
We created a partnership with King’s College London Students’ Union and SOAS Students’ Union to give students the opportunity to show their perspective of their mental health issues faced at university and how they would like to see services and support improve. We also organised a film-making workshop by GoFilmIt.
The power of short films allows the audience to visualise mental health challenges university students authentically feel.
Students from KCL and SOAS, student wellbeing support organisations and charities came together for the film festival. Lewis Alexander Baxer, founder of The Blurred Line Group, and Time to Change ambassadors Jennifer and Cate, spoke of their experiences, and Together UK highlighted support support services available by charities and the importance of signposting these.
Following the films, talks and discussions, the audience highlighted the factors most affecting student mental health and wellbeing, including:
- worries about money
- long waiting times for counselling
- limited number of counselling sessions
- transition into adulthood
- academic pressures
- not feeling truly heard.
So what could mental health services and support available at universities do better? Students felt that making support more personal to a student’s situation and truly listening to a student’s issues were important steps to take forward. Increasing peer to peer support and reducing wait times to counselling were common suggestions. Many students and attendees also felt that there could be better signposting of resources as there is a lack of awareness for all of the support available.
This project is part of Kaleidoscope’s Perspectives Programme, an internship scheme focused on promoting unheard voices in health and care.