Students Staff

9 October 2018

Creating a conversation around health and wellbeing

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 9.29 am

Taran Baragwanath is our VP Welfare and Community. Here, he talks about his time at Essex, including his own battles with mental health issues, how this inspired him to become a Sabb, and the priority our SU is giving to mental health.

Taran Baragwanath

Taran Baragwanath

I’ve been Essex as a student and as a sabbatical officer for a number of years now. I’ve loved the majority of my time here, but like plenty of students at university, I’ve had my own battle with mental health issues since starting my studies.

During my second year, my mental health became bad enough that I had to intermit – although this felt really daunting, I’m glad I did, as it meant that I was able to deal with my issues and rediscover my love for my degree and have the opportunity to put myself back on track.

After going through experiences like this, it ignited a passion for people’s welfare that I channelled through my work as LGBTQ+ Officer and subsequently by becoming a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer.

This year, the SU has made one of our biggest priorities mental health. We’re working on a number of projects to break down the stigma of mental health issues and create a conversation around mental health and wellbeing – you may have seen one of our first steps into this if you got a free plant from Freshers’ Fair!

We’re also working on a training programme for mental health first aid so that students can be trained on how to deal with mental health problems – it’s important that we give as many people as possible the tools to work on mental health and wellbeing so that we can break down stigma.

On top of that we’re looking at  how we can increase support and awareness of services that you can access whilst you’re at university – we’re working very closely with the Student Wellbeing Service to ensure that all services are as student accessible as possible and work for students too.

I’m so excited for the year ahead and can’t wait to help students as much as I possibly can – we’re always looking for student involvement, so if you’re passionate about mental health, wellbeing and student welfare please get involved on this journey with me.

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