A Few Thank Yous

Last night were the student union awards. I was honoured to receive the award for ‘Contribution to Student Wellbeing’. Furthermore, the ‘Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP) which we set up following World Mental Health Day last year won the award for ‘Student Group of the Year’. I wrote the following on Facebook but thought I’d share it to for those who I don’t have on there.

Last night was incredibly overwhelming for me and I didn’t really know what to say, so here goes…

This year has been a difficult one for a number of reasons, some of which many of you will know. But it’s also been an awesome one – we’ve achieved so much and I’ve had the privileged to work with some incredible people.

A year ago when I started planning World Mental Health Day, I had no idea how big it would get. I didn’t expect it to continue after the day. I didn’t expect us to really get much of a turnout and didn’t anticipate the number of organisations who’d want to be involved. There was no talk of mental health on campus, really. No groups campaigning on it or speaking out about it, so it was a bit of a leap of faith.

It was a great success and that is largely down to my brilliant team and those who believed in me and replied to my panicked texts in the early hours of the morning!

Then UoY Mental Health Awareness Project started. The turnout for world mental health day was so good, we couldn’t let it slide. This project only took off because we had a team of determined people who believed in the project and wanted to make a difference. One year on, not only have we received the award for ‘Student Group of the Year’, but Jane Grenville came and spoke to us afterwards to say thank you for all the work we’re doing, and a student came up to me in Willow to say how much our project meant to her.

On top of this project, receiving the award for ‘Contribution to Student Wellbeing’, is something I never expected. So many people do so much on this campus and every single one of them deserves recognition. I haven’t done anything alone this year, it has always been with others, working as a team, so thank you to all those who have been there along the way.

This is turning into an essay so here’s a few individual thank yous. Firstly to Tron who gave me free reign to tackle world mental health day last year. I was fairly blunt at times but I think we got there in the end! Beth has kept me as sane as I’ll ever be, responded to my mini-breakdowns and panics, and continually believed in me. She’s also done a brilliant job of leading MHAP when I had to step down. James gives the best hugs and is always, always there to lean on. You may think your contributions are minimal but they’re not, you contribute a huge amount and we couldn’t do it without you. You’ve been a brilliant co-director, too. Melanie, Melissa, Kate, Tilly, Chris, and the rest of the MHAP team, your dedication and enthusiasm knows no bounds. You’ve been assets to MHAP and I’m excited to see where we go from here.

It would be impossible to list everyone who’s helped, guided, supported, and just generally been there and believed in me, and in us, over the last year. But you will all know who you are, so thank you for everything you have done. Let’s see what the next year brings!

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