University presented with mental health initiative award

University presented with mental health initiative award

Successfully helping students overcome stress and mental health issues by engaging in exercise has landed the University of Aberdeen an award.

The University of Aberdeen has been presented with a 2-Star Award on the Healthy Body Healthy Mind Awards Initiative at the Scottish Student Sport Conference last week.

The Healthy Body Healthy Mind Awards are a partnership between the NUS Scotland and Scottish Student Sport, aiming to tackle the increasingly significant issue of student mental ill health in Scotland.

The award comes after a joint initiative between the University Sport & Exercise Team, based at the Aberdeen Sports Village, and the Aberdeen University Student’s Association (AUSA) saw a broad range of activities organised at the University to help students achieve better mental health through engaging in exercise.

To gain Healthy Body Healthy Mind status institutions must campaign on mental health issues throughout the year and help bring about practical changes on their campuses such as improved sport and recreational programmes, better signposting to student services and educating students about good mental wellbeing through sports teams and sports facilities.

March saw the advent of Mental Health Week in Aberdeen while free weekly exercise classes were organised for students at the Hillhead halls of residence. Courses were also offered in Mental Health First Aid which saw students and staff gain NHS qualifications in spotting the first signs of mental health problems.

Donald Pirie, Head of University Sport said: “This is an excellent achievement for the University having only signed up for these awards after the start of this academic year. It was particularly pleasing to work in conjunction with the Student Association sabbatical officers on this as well as the volunteer student committees behind them. We are now aiming for the 3-star or 4-star award and look forward to working with other colleagues across campus to make this happen.”

Jenny Batty, AUSA’s President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities said: “We’re delighted to achieve this award as tackling the stigma of mental health is a major issue and one we have been working on for some time. Exercise is a great way to help alleviate the stress of student life and we hope the activities we organised have helped students achieve their potential.”