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UCLan to deliver new mental health programme for LGBTQ+ students

Posted on - 12th November, 2021 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Education, Health, Preston News, UCLan
Pic: UCLan

The government has chosen UCLan to deliver a mental health programme to the university’s LGBTQ+ community.

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Led by UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone, the university will deliver the Creative Mental Health Framework, which has now received funding and aims to reduce mental health stigma.

The project, one of 18 selected nationwide, will be delivered by students who will use creativity to raise awareness and reduce barriers.

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Emma Speed, Director of UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone, said: “Creativity is at the heart of this peer-to-peer, interdisciplinary offer, with student experience content breaking down engagement barriers.

“We will work closely with mental health academics, students and researchers to apply creativity to bring diverse students together in a mutual goal to reduce barriers to better mental health.”

Emma said the initiative harnesses creativity to support mental health through performance, art, media production and podcasts.

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There will also be a TV talk show programme, similar to The One Show, produced by students, and it will air on Showcase TV. The students involved will be from diverse groups and disciplines in addition to the LGBTQ+ community.

UCLan said students will learn how to support each other, practise self-care and understand mental health triggers. And through the production of arts and media content, they will develop a mutual understanding of LGBTQ+ and mental health issues.

In addition to the performance and production aspects of the programme, Tate Liverpool will deliver arts in health practice training to 30 academics and students.

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An additional 30 students and academics will be trained by Growing Resilience to become mental health champions. The focus on recruitment for these 60 places will be for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Alison Jones, Community Programme Manager at Tate Liverpool, said: “Encouraging young people to develop and use their creative skills is a key tool in positively impacting wellbeing.

“We hope the project can make a significant difference in the lives of many young people.”

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A play will be written addressing the issues faced by those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Students from UCLan’s BA (Hons) Acting course are writing, producing and delivering the play. It will serve as a finale to the creative activities in September 2023.

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, said: “Having a mental health condition should not be a barrier to success in higher education, but for many students, this is still the case.

“Data shows that students reporting a mental health condition are more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate with a first or 2:1, and progress into skilled work or further study – compared to students without a declared condition.

“We know that students come to university or college from a range of backgrounds and that their journey and the kind of support they require is likely to be influenced by their specific circumstances.”

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By paying attention to the diverse needs of students, universities and colleges, UCLan aims to tailor the support they offer and ensure that all students have the best chance possible to succeed.

Millward said: “We look forward to working with these projects to develop and evaluate innovative and collaborative approaches to targeted support for student mental health, and to support the take-up of this learning for the benefit of students in all parts of the sector.”

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