'We believe that mental health runs like a river, with everyone being at risk of falling in.' - I Speak Mental Health Team
Our mission: Ubiquitous mental health support
I Speak Mental Health is raising £1000 to fund the production of evidence-based mental health first aid kits, which are designed to provide well-being support to university students through the use of minimally intrusive and easily deployable kit contents modelled from psychological interventions and therapies which are used in clinical settings.
The kit includes contents such as; cognitive behavioural therapy flashcards, a progressive muscle relaxation ball, mindfulness recordings, a sub-goaling calendar, behavioural sleep hygiene coaching and a leaflet on having difficult conversations surrounding mental health and suicide prevention.
Who Are We?
We are a team of students who came together with the intention of being able to offer fellow students a form of support that is accessible to them at all times. We believe that mental health runs like a river, with everyone being at risk of falling in. In the upstream, the waters are shallower and the current is less strong. If someone falls in, it is easier for them to attempt to swim to shore, or to receive help from someone else to do so. However, as the river flows to the downstream, the waters become deeper, murkier, more turbulent and the fast current can complicate the process of getting safely to shore.
After speaking with friends of ours at UofG, it came to our attention that many students are facing psychological distress from stressors associated with life at university. Many of whom wish to receive help from Counselling And Psychological Services, others however don’t know where to begin when seeking help, not knowing what the best course of action or coping mechanisms might be.
The university is able to provide help to students who find themselves in the upstream (with the help of contact numbers for charities or night lines, as well as educative platforms like the Big White Wall) and those in the downstream (CAPS sessions). However for students finding themselves in the midstream it can take longer to access support and available help. We want to be able to help these students building on the available services the University offers.
In order to help students, we are developing an evidence-based mental health first aid kit that we can then provide to students. The kit contents are all modelled off of established psychological interventions from the literature which have been evidenced as effective interventions to improve well-being and mental health outcomes. Some examples include cognitive behavioural therapy flashcards, a progressive muscle relaxation foam ball, ear plugs with a behavioural sleep hygiene coaching, etc.
The kit serves a minimally intrusive, easily deployable and low-cost intervention that shares valuable information to users on mental health self-care. This information might not be accessible to everyone, with a lot of it only accessible if you have an understanding of psychology or prior introduction to counselling/therapy. This kit will also help relive the excess demand on CAPS which produces long waiting times. We are currently a standing alone project during our development, working within the Enactus UK student social enterprise incubator, however hope to partner with many universities (including the University of Glasgow) to distribute the kits to students. The funds will help make this happen by relieving budgetary restrictions that can prevent students getting the care that they need.
So far, we have produced our first prototype and contacted manufacturers for an initial order when final designs are ready. We are now working with a graphic designer who is making designs from the research and written content we have developed. Along with this, we are developing a manual for users which explains the evidence-based literature that it is based off of, as well as how each kit content’s design is shaped from such research.
By providing this help by targeting the midstream of the river of mental health, the kit may serve as a preventative measure and as a protective tool to both help students from falling into the river, as well as to prevent them from making their way downstream.
Where will the money go?
If we hit our minimum target, the money invested into the project will go towards producing these mental health kits to get them into as many hands of students in need as possible. The more we are able to hand out, the more feedback we will be able to acquire to deliver the kit as efficiently as possible to those in need of these supporting interventions.
The following breakdown is the quoted cost of each component in one kit. At a total cost of £1.31 per kit, we wish to produce 760 kits.
- Box: 35p
- Subgoaling Calendar: 1p
- Mindfulness Distraction Ring & Recordings: 17p
- Healthy Sleep Earplugs & Behavioural Sleep Hygiene Coaching Material: 8p
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Flashcards: 30p
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation Ball: 40p
- 1 Unit Total = £1.31
If there are any extra funds, these will be put towards a qualitative study which will measure the level of engagement associated with the kit and feedback as to the effectiveness of the kit content interventions. Specifically, it will be used to compensate research participants for their inclusion in the study.
If 100 people gave just £9.96 each we would be able to get 760 kits into the hands of our students, making a massive difference to the well-being of our community!
We are extremely grateful for your contributions to this cause! Given the easy accessibility of the kit, your donation can go a very long way for each individual that the kit helps, both for themselves and the people they can help through the skills they learn.
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Help us succeed!
We are very grateful for all your contributions. However there are other ways to help us outside of making a donation. Please help us by sharing our project with others! The further the word can be spread the, the greater the scope we may have to raise funds and produce more kits, allowing us to help even more students.
You can share our journey on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, telephone or even just chatting over some tea with friends.
If anyone you know, or you yourself would like to get involved with the initiative, please get in contact via email or social media! We are very keen to collaborate and grow in any way we can!