The reception was held by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on World Mental Health Day and was to celebrate the contributions to mental health, marking 10 years since the first World Mental Health Day.
Charley Harris has been a founding member of Student Minds Bath, the local branch of a national charity affiliated with the Students' Union that helps students with mental health difficulties, and campaigns to raise awareness about student mental health. She was nominated by the national charity to attend the reception.
Charley recalls the day: “Leaders and volunteers from all kinds of mental health organisations and all walks of life were invited. We were welcomed by a speech from the Duke of Cambridge about the importance of mental health and the work that they had put in to reduce stigma associated with mental health problems. We were then introduced to Stephen Fry, who delivered a powerful speech about his own experiences with mental health professionals and how valuable the volunteers are to supporting those in need. I also got to meet Prince Harry, and even got some photos with him!”
Although Student Minds Bath was founded on campus only three years ago, it has developed phenomenally, as Charley comments: “I have been with Student Minds since it started, at the very beginning we were just a small team of five and were only able to run one group: Positive Minds. Now, we have a team of 11 wonderful facilitators, who run four different peer support groups and workshops ranging from support for depression to eating disorders to groups for supporters of those experiencing mental health difficulty. We have also grown to include a campaigns and events committee who are elected in the spring term with the aim of raising awareness of mental health on campus.”
Student Minds Bath have had the most successful peer support groups compared to any other university, with full sign-ups for every Positive Minds course they have run. They have also been awarded the 'best peer support group' award by Student Minds for two years running now, and are hoping to expand their award collection with a third.
Many thanks to Charley and other students from Students Minds for their amazing dedication and hard work, and congratulations on the royal recognition of their achievements!