Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

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Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual campaign by the Mental Health Foundation, and this year the theme is Nature. The week is throughout the 10th to 16th of May 2021. Throughout the pandemic, research from the Mental Health Foundation showed that 45% of respondents reported that engaging with green spaces, and going for walks outside had been one of our top coping strategies.

Thriving With Nature: making the most of the UK’s Natural Spaces for our Mental Health and Wellbeing, outlines the different ways in which engaging with nature can positively enhance your wellbeing, alongside different ways you can engage throughout the year. The guide encourages you too:

  • Spend Time in Green Spaces
  • Finding Nature in the City
  • Staying Active: Clear Your Head also have a great resource on tips for keeping active
  • Relaxation and Mindfulness
  • Connecting with others
  • Engaging with Wildlife

We’re encouraging our GCU students and staff to show us how they engage with Nature through our Nature Showcase! This could be through walking, mindfulness, gardening, being active, or more.

Take a photo and tweet or post it on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #GCUMHAW21 and tag @GCUWellbeing and we’ll share your posts! Three entries will win a £10 worth of Nature related prizes each.

You’ll also be able to join us through a series of webinars and online activities which you can find out more about below to enhance your health and wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week.

GCU is committed to embedding sustainability into every aspect of its operations and that includes exploring opportunities for enhancing biodiversity in its Campus in Glasgow city centre. GCU’s Forest for the Future & Urban Orchard was established on 28th November 2020 as a collaboration between the University’s Sustainability Officer and 3rd students on the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment’s Environmental Management programme to plant over 100 trees as part of the Woodland Trust’s the Big Climate Fightback. See more at our Biodiversity Webpages! GCU have also introduced 19 bird boxes and some bird feeders with the aim of supporting common birds in Glasgow.

GCU Activities

Below we have included a table overview for students and staff to sign up for in Mental Health Awareness Week.

Monday the 10th: 11 – 12:30pm Suicide Alertness Training with SAMH Eventbrite
Monday the 10th: 2-3pm QAA Cluster BAME AND LGBT+ Professional Development Event  Eventbrite
Tuesday the 11th: 10am – 2:30pm Staff Training to Support Students’ Mental Health Staff Intranet
Tuesday the 11th: 11:30am - Staff Mindfulness  Eventbrite
Tuesday the 11th: 12pm - Student Mindfulness Eventbrite
Tuesday the 11th: 1:30 – 3pm: Kindness and compassion for work and study Eventbrite
Wednesday the 12th: 9:30 am – 3:35pm Positive Psychology Course for GCU Staff Staff Intranet
Wednesday the 12th: 2:30 – 3:30pm: Breathe, Meditate, Connect  Eventbrite
Wednesday the 12th: 3:30pm: Spotlight On... Mental Health and Covid-19: Launch Event  Eventbrite
Thursday the 13th: 10am – 2:30pm Staff Training to Support Students’ Mental Health Staff Intranet
Friday the 14th: 10am - 12pm Look After Your Mate: Student Mental Health Course Eventbrite 
Friday the 14th: 2-2:30pm: Climate Change and Mental Health with Michael Mikulewicz Eventbrite

Click the drop down menu below to find further details about ongoing events at GCU for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021. 

Monday the 10th of May

11 – 12:30pm Suicide Alertness Training with SAMH
Trigger Warning: Discussions of Suicide

Register your interest for Suicide Alertness Training during Mental Health Awareness Week with Pete Copeland, GCU and SAMH's Mentally Healthy University Coordinator, and Keir McKechnie, SAMH's Suicide Prevention Lived Experience Panel Coordinator.

Register at the Eventbrite.

 

2-3pm QAA Cluster BAME AND LGBT+ Professional Development Event

Registration is open for the third of four professional development webinars as part of the QAA Scotland Collaborative Cluster on Supporting the Mental Wellbeing within our BAME and LGBTQ+ learner communities. The aim of this Collaborative Cluster is to build the capabilities of HEI staff to create inclusive curricula and learning communities that promote a sense of belonging and mental wellbeing for students with protected characteristics. This event builds on the success of the 2020 Collaborative Cluster on Student Mental Wellbeing and the Curriculum.

Speakers
We are delighted to have experienced communicators, researchers and influencers Mel McKenna, Sara Turkington and Churnjeet Mahn to share their experiences and discuss their insights with us from their ongoing work in advocating for BAME and LGBTQ+ (in particular Trans) communities.
This webinar will explore:

  • What aspects of curricula & learning environments can impact negatively on BAME and LGBTQ+ (in particular) Trans students' mental wellbeing?
  • What key issues should be considered when designing inclusive curricula to ensure the mental wellbeing needs of students from BAME and LGBTQ+ learners?

The webinar also will provide opportunities for putting questions to our speakers.

You can register for the event at the Eventbrite.

Tuesday the 11th of May

10am – 2:30pm Staff Training to Support Students’ Mental Health
If you are in a student-facing role – or aspire to be – you can take part in training to help you support student mental health and wellbeing.

The training has been developed by the charity SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health) to support students with the additional challenges they might face as a result of COVID-19. It was launched last year for staff with line management and/or direct responsibility for supporting students. Following positive feedback from these colleagues, it's now open to all staff who support students, or those who aspire to be in a student-facing role.

You can register for one of the dates by signing up on the staff intranet. For more information on the courses, please email: E: staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk

 

Mindfulness Sessions

There will be guided mindfulness sessions available for Students and Staff on Tuesday the 19th of May.

11:30am Mindfulness for Staff: Sign up at the Eventbrite.

12 Midday: Mindfulness for Students: Sign up at the Eventbrite

 

1:30 – 3pm: Kindness and compassion for work and study
We have really learned over the past year how much work, study and home lives are intertwined – never more so than of late. If you’re not feeling your best then it’s hard to do your best work, whether it’s your day job or something else in your life that’s affecting you. Being able to talk to your colleagues with openness and honesty about difficult feelings is important – and just as important is how you respond if someone’s brave enough to open up to you.

Join Kate Hinder, Business in the Community’s Wellbeing Lead, in conversation with a member of the GCU team on why kindness and compassion at work are so important. And that starts with you! What are the practical things that you can do every day that will help you look after yourself and those around you?

Sign up at our Eventbrite.

Wednesday the 12th of May

9:30 am – 3:35pm Positive Psychology Course for GCU Staff

GCU Staff are encouraged to sign up and participate in a Positive Psychology Workshop. There will be a workshop during Mental Health Awareness Week, alongside throughout the academic year. Sign up at the staff Mental Health Hub. For more information on the courses, please email: staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk

 

2:30 – 3:30pm: Breathe, Meditate, Connect

Sujata Sriram will lead a 40 minute breathe, meditate and connect session for students and staff.

You can sign up for the session at the Eventbrite. 

 

3:30pm: Spotlight On... Mental Health and Covid-19: Launch Event

Throughout recent years’ universities (including GCU) have seen an increase in the number of students and staff seeking support for their mental health. At GCU we have made mental health a strategic priority, recognising that we all have mental health and our experience of this can vary over time; for many of us, fluctuating between feeling well, happy and resilient to feeling stressed, isolated or temporarily unable to cope. Our mental wellbeing impacts on our relationships, our home lives, and influences our ability to engage with studying or work.

Underpinned by our whole community approach, and supported by sector research, GCU have launched the Spotlight On…series. The series aims to shine a light on mental health and factors that influence our mental wellbeing, to create a more open, inclusive and proactive culture, encourage greater engagement with available support, and curate accessible and sustainable mental health and wellbeing resources.

Our first event will consider how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on our mental health and wellbeing, through an authentic discussion with a panel of sector and academic experts followed by a question-and-answer session open to all. The event will be accompanied by a brief introductory video and access to some relevant training and support resources for those wishing to engage further with each series topic.

You can sign up to the event at the Eventbrite.

Thursday the 13th of May

10am – 2:30pm Staff Training to Support Students’ Mental Health
If you are in a student-facing role – or aspire to be – you can take part in training to help you support student mental health and wellbeing.

The training has been developed by the charity SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health) to support students with the additional challenges they might face as a result of COVID-19. It was launched last year for staff with line management and/or direct responsibility for supporting students. Following positive feedback from these colleagues, it's now open to all staff who support students, or those who aspire to be in a student-facing role.

You can register for one of the dates by signing up on the staff intranet. For more information on the courses, please email: E: staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk

Friday the 14th of May

10am – 12pm: Look After Your Mate: Student Mental Health Course

Look After Your Mate is a workshop for students who are looking to support their friend or peers at university. The session gives students the skills, knowledge and confidence to support peers, whilst looking after their own mental health too.

Students can sign up at the Eventbrite.

If you have any questions please contact Rachel Simpson (Project Officer for Student Mental Health) at Rachel.Simpson@GCU.ac.uk

 

2-2:30pm: Climate Change and Mental Health with Michael Mikulewicz

Outlining the research from their paper with Harriet Ingle, Mental Health and Climate Change: Tackling Invisible Injustice, Michael Mikulewicz will discuss the intersection between mental health and climate change.

Sign up at the Eventbrite.

GCU Mental Health Support

Learn more about the support provisions we offer students and staff below:

United To Prevent Suicide Pledge at GCU

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‌GCU’s Student Wellbeing Advisory Group (SWAG) has approved the establishment of a task and finish working group to take forward the Student Mental Health Action Plan strand of work to develop a suicide prevention, intervention and postvention framework. In common with other UK HEIs, this is a priority development area for GCU and an important aspect of our overall approach to safeguarding the wellbeing of our students and staff. 

Alongside the establishment of a wider holistic action plan which strives to draw on our internal expertise, sector guidance and external resources to take forward the development of a GCU Framework which aligns to the UUK Suicide Safer University, GCU are encouraging all staff and students to sign the United to Prevent Suicide Pledge. United to Prevent Suicide is a social movement of people from all across Scotland, who are united in a shared belief that each and every one of us has a role to play in preventing suicide.

Sign the Pledge at the United to Prevent Suicide Webpages.

 

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If you feel in Crisis, or are Worried about Someone please see the webpages which are directed below:

Student Support

At Glasgow Caledonian University and GCU Students' Association we are committed to supporting our students. Please find below some details of support resources available to GCU Students.

GCU Glasgow

GCU Student Wellbeing Team 

The Student Wellbeing team provides a free and confidential advice and support service. We offer a friendly face and a listening ear in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Our aim is to support you through your time at University and help you to achieve your academic success.

Our teams offer support for all aspects of mental health and wellbeing through a range of different services to help support our students. All the services noted below are accessible online for our students, including support through:

We also work with partners across the University and the sector to enhance wellbeing through strategic projects, including having developed a Student Mental Health Action Plan. 

An overview of the GCU Wellbeing Service provision can also be seen in a video produced with our Project Officer for Student Mental Health as part of GCU Student Life's Services Spotlight

We also provide contextualised and tailoured support for intersectional experiences. To find out more, please visit our Supporting Our Students webpage.

 

GCU Students' Association Advice Centre

The Advice Centre provides a free, non-judgemental and confidential service to all GCU students.

We represent and promote the interests of both individual students and the student body as a whole and we operate independently to the University.

The Advice Centre exists to help students obtain accurate information on all the services and rights to which they are entitled and to provide support, mediation, advocacy and representation where appropriate.

Find out more at the GCU Students' Association Advice Centre Webpages.

 

Togetherall

You can also access free online mental health support with Togetherall, a digital mental health support service, which is available 24/7. It is a safe place online to get things off your chest, have conversations, express yourself freely and openly, and learn how to manage your mental health. Professionally trained moderators monitor the community to ensure the safety of all members. It is totally anonymous, so no one will know you’ve chosen to use it, unless you tell them, and you choose an anonymous username for your time on the site. You can find out more about the services Togetherall offer at the GCU Togetherall Webpage.

 

Self-Help Resources

Our Self-Help Resources lists further resources to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing, including mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises for stress, and hints and tips to get a good night’s sleep. You can also access financial wellbeing, gender-based violence, bereavement support, and more. 

 

GCU London 

GCU London Student Wellbeing, Counselling and Disabilites

GCU London Student Wellbeing, Counselling and Disabilities service offers a range of options to support and enhance student wellbeing, including:

  • Confidential one-to one counselling
  • Wellbeing workshops and information
  • Self-help resources
  • Disability Support
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Events

The service is free of charge to all students at the university, including international students.

We also work with partners across the University and the sector to enhance our student and staff wellbeing through strategic projects, including a Student Wellbeing Advisory Group, and Student Mental Health Action Plan.

 

GCU London Students' Association Advice Centre

The Advice Centre at GCU London provides a free, non-judgemental and confidential service to all GCU students.

We represent and promote the interests of both individual students and the student body as a whole and we operate independently to the University.

The Advice Centre exists to help students obtain accurate information on all the services and rights to which they are entitled and to provide support, mediation, advocacy and representation where appropriate.

Find out more at the GCU London Students' Association Advice Centre Webpages.

 

Togetherall

You can also access free online mental health support with Togetherall, a digital mental health support service, which is available 24/7. It is a safe place online to get things off your chest, have conversations, express yourself freely and openly, and learn how to manage your mental health. Professionally trained moderators monitor the community to ensure the safety of all members. It is totally anonymous, so no one will know you’ve chosen to use it, unless you tell them, and you choose an anonymous username for your time on the site. You can find out more about the services Togetherall offer at the GCU Togetherall Webpage.

 

Self-Help Resources

GCU London also have tailoured Self-Help Resources which lists further local resources to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing.

 

GCU London Nightline

Nightline, which is a call, text and online chat support service for GCU London Students reopened on the 14th of September. The service is available from 6pm to 8am, and more information can be found at the Nightline Webpage.

Staff Support

Your health, wellbeing and happiness is of paramount importance to us. We will provide support where we can, to enable students and staff to achieve their optimal mental health in order to thrive in and outside the University.  We do this by promoting a positive environment to work and study, signposting to information and training available as well as guidance and practical tips on how to support yourself and others around you. 

The Mental Health and Wellbeing area on our staff intranet is a one-stop-shop for resources, guidance and training that will help to support your mental health. The site also provides guidance on how you might support your colleagues and students.

 

PAM Assist 

Our Employee Assistance Programme PAM Assist is a free and confidential counselling and support service. It is staffed by experienced and independent professional advisors who can talk to you about all kinds of work and personal issues, such as stress at work, bereavement, relationships and debt advice. Find out more and access PAM Assist. Staff can also call our Occupational Health provider PAM  to arrange a one off 20-minute confidential consultation.   

 

 

Togetherall 

You can also access free online mental health support with Togetherall, a digital mental health support service, which is available 24/7. It is a safe place online to get things off your chest, have conversations, express yourself freely and openly, and learn how to manage your mental health. Professionally trained moderators monitor the community to ensure the safety of all members. It is totally anonymous, so no one will know you’ve chosen to use it, unless you tell them, and you choose an anonymous username for your time on the site. You can find out more about the services Togetherall offer at the GCU Togetherall Webpage.

 

Coronavirus and Wellbeing

Our coronavirus wellbeing support page lists further resources to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing, including mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises for stress, and hints and tips to get a good night’s sleep. You can also access financial wellbeing, gender-based violence and bereavement support and tips on working at home, including a reminder of how to set up your home working environment. 

 

The Arc Classes

The Arc stream free exercise classes every day to help you stay fit at home. Find out more on their Facebook page.

 

Mental Health Webinars

You can access free stress awareness online courses from the British Safety Council via the mental health and wellbeing intranet pages

Register your interest for the 'Mental Health: Start the Conversation' online course and the 'Stress Awareness' online session by emailing: Staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk

For additional support and guidance, visit the staff mental health and wellbeing intranet area.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Projects and Representation

Click on the drop down menus below to find out more about ongoing strategic projects at GCU for mental health and wellbeing, and the student mental health and wellbeing representation at GCU Students' Association.

Wellbeing Projects

Alongside structural support services (for example student counselling and staff counselling) GCU also undertake projects across our institution and with external partners to provide a series of campaigns, events, and further enhance strategic approaches to support our students and staff.

Projects which are occurring across the institution can be seen in more detail at our Wellbeing Projects Webpages with some examples being listed below. New proposal for projects, questions or feedback can be directed to the Project Officer for Student Mental Health.

Some examples of projects are:

GCU's Here to Help Campaign

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This is a really tough time for everyone. At GCU, we’re here to help you.

The mental health and wellbeing of students in universities up and down the country, has been a growing concern in recent years and uncertainty, anxiety and thoughts of isolation have been made worse since the onset of COVID-19. We also know that many people don’t share how they’re feeling until they reach crisis point.

GCU have launched our Here to Help Campaign which looks at raising awareness of the support available for GCU students and staff, and challenging stigma around mental health. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Research

GCU Student Wellbeing is looking to build a research community of people with an interest in student mental health and wellbeing.

We are particularly keen to hear from academic researchers, including Postgraduate research students, whose interests include topics such as: procrastination, stress, motivation, mindfulness etc.

We would love to share your work on our web pages where students with an interest in understanding their wellbeing could find examples of academic research from GCU.

What we are looking for is just a short description of your research and a link. For example:

GCU’s Dr Chris Hand, with colleagues from the University of the West of Scotland, found that full-time students were unable to maintain physical activity levels during lockdown, and that physical activity decline was linked to negative mood. The open-access paper is available here.

We’d also love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved in events throughout the year. In previous years, Post Graduate Research students from the Psychology Department have presented their research and delivered workshops as part of University Mental Health Day. Topics have included The Benefits of Physical Activity, Mindfulness, and Relaxation Techniques.

Please get in touch and we will add you to our Wellbeing Community and let you know about our upcoming events and opportunities.

GCU's Common Good Podcast: Wellbeing Episodes

Glasgow Caledonian University's podcasts showcase the very best of GCU's research and explains how it benefits people and communities locally, nationally and around the world. There have been a number of podcasts which are outlined below on health and wellbeing.

 

Mental Health and Wellbeing 

Spotlight On: Covid-19 and Mental Health

The importance of positive mental health has never before been so important, and GCU is always looking to improve its support for students and staff. Rachel Simpson, the Project Officer for Student Mental Health, and Helen Gallagher, Assistant Vice-Principal of Health and Wellbeing, join the Common Good Podcast to outline the University's mental health provision, how students and staff can access help and the launch of the "Spotlight On" series.

The Spotlight On... series, underpinned by our whole community approach, and supported by sector research, aims to shine a light on mental health and factors that influence our mental wellbeing, to create a more open, inclusive and proactive culture, encourage greater engagement with available support, and curate accessible and sustainable mental health and wellbeing resources.

 

Can Mindfulness Help Us Deal with Lockdown? with Ben Parkinson

Ben Parkinson from the Department of Nursing and Community Health joins the latest episode of the Common Good Podcast to discuss how stroke survivors can benefit from mindfulness. Ben talks about how mindfulness helps the community deal with stress and anxiety and whether or not it can be used by families in lockdown.

 

Positive Mental Health and the Coronavirus with Dr Christopher Hand

Dr Christopher Hand, a lecturer in psychology, joins the Common Good Podcast (from a remote location) talk to talk about health and wellbeing in the time of the coronavirus. Speaking with Craig G Telfer, Dr Hand offers advice to people working and studying from home on ways to adjust to the new climate, as well as discussing ways to deal with any anxieties surrounding the disease.

 

The Dark Side of Social Media with Dr Chris Hand

Dr Christopher Hand returns to the Common Good Podcast to discuss a new study that examines the behaviour of Twitter users - and how a quarter of participants displayed psychopathic tendencies. Dr Hand talks in depth about his research, discussing why people behave in certain ways online, and explores what social-media companies can do to crackdown on abuse.

 

The Psychological Effects of Lockdown with Dr Christopher Hand

Dr Christopher Hand returns to the Common Good Podcast, four months after his last appearance, to look back over the lockdown period and examine the psychological effects it might have had on the British public. Dr Hand touches on the phenomenon of "online shaming", the knock-on effects of Dominic Cummings' trip to Durham, conspiracy theories and why some people are unwilling to wear masks in public.

 

The Gym of the Future with Kathleen Campbell

How will we physically distance in our gyms? Will we be able to exercise as normal? And can we still use the changing rooms? Kathleen Campbell, manager of the ARC at Glasgow Caledonian University, joins the Common Good Podcast to about the reopening of our gym and steps required to make sure it's safe for use. Kathleen also talks about online exercise classes and how to maintain a positive mindset during lockdown.

 

Keeping Active During Lockdown with Professor Sebastien Chastin

The latest episode of the Common Good Podcast stars Sebastien Chastin, a Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics at Glasgow Caledonian University, who talks about the best ways to stay physically active in the current climate. Professor Chastin also talks about the best way to break sitting behaviours at work and the importance of getting a good night's sleep.

 

Mental Health Training at GCU

GCU is providing essential training to support the mental health and wellbeing of its students. With financial support from Santander Universities, GCU is working alongside the Students’ Association and SAMH (the Scottish Association of Mental Health) to train around 400 members of staff who work directly with students.

Dr Helen Gallagher, Assistant Vice-Principal of Health and Wellbeing, and Keir McKechnie of SAMH join the latest episode of the Common Good Podcast to discuss this important project.

 

Equality and Diversity

Celebrating Black History Month at GCU with Tabitha Nyariki

Tabitha Nyariki, the Vice-President for the School of Health and Life Sciences with the GCU Students' Association, joins the Common Good Podcast to talk about how the University has celebrated Black History month across October. Tabitha explains the origins of Black History Month and places it in context of the the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd, before discussing the table of events at GCU. She also discusses her role within the Students' Association.

 

Representation in Video Games with Dr Romana Ramzan

Dr Romana Ramzan joins the Common Good Podcast to talk about video games and how different religions and genders are represented within the medium. Dr Ramzan also talks about how she got into video games as a child, her experiences in industry and academia and her passion for encouraging young girls into pursuing video games as a career.

 

Alcohol and Gender?

The Relationship between Alcohol and Gender with Professor Carol Emslie

Professor Carol Emslie joins the second episode of The Common Good Podcast to discuss her research into the relationship between alcohol and gender. Speaking with Craig G Telfer, Professor Emslie examines the differences between men's and women's alcohol consumption, problem drinking within the older community, and how Glasgow Caledonian University's research has played a part in shaping Scottish Government policy.

 

Gender Based Violence

Understanding Stalking with Dr Katy Proctor

Dr Katy Proctor, a lecturer in criminology and policing at Glasgow Caledonian University, joins the Common Good Podcast to talk about her research into stalking. After interviewing 128 victims of stalking, she talks about their experiences including why people stalk, the different forms it can take and the lasting impact it has. Dr Proctor also discusses the police's attitude towards stalking and whether or not Scotland requires specialist taskforces to tackle the issue.

 

Violence Against Women with Dr Nancy Lombard

The first Common Good Podcast of 2020 stars Dr Nancy Lombard, a Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University, to talk about her research into violence against women. She discusses her work with schoolchildren and their understanding of violence, as well as her study into the links between football and domestic abuse. Dr Lombard also talks about her son, Dylan, who lives with mandibular dysplasia, a rare condition that affects just 13 people worldwide.

GCU Students' Association Representation

Mental Health and Wellbeing

GCU Students' Association have a representation group and officer for student mental health and wellbeing. The Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Group represents the general interests of student wellbeing and mental health and helps develop Students’ Association policy, and runs campaigns/events on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

You can find out more about the group at the GCU Students' Association Webpage.

You can email the Mental Health and Wellbeing Representation Officer, Vincent Waters, at mentalhealth@gcustudents.co.uk

The group also oversee a wider facebook group for mental health and wellbeing at GCU.

 

Ethical and Enviromental

GCU Students' Association also have a representation group and officer for ethical and enviromental issues. 

You can find out more about the group at the GCU Students' Association Webpage.

You can email the Representation Officers, Elisabeth Dumortier & Monica Allen, at eande@GCUstudents.co.uk

The group also oversee a wider facebook group for mental health and wellbeing at GCU.