Manchester Metropolitan University’s Students’ Union received a Campaigns Award at the NUS Awards 2017 on 5 July for their mental health campaign ‘It’s OK’.
The Campaigns Award recognises inclusive and impactful campaigns that empower unions, improve students’ lives or campaign on issues faced by their members.
Launched in November 2016, the Union’s ‘It’s OK’ campaign aimed to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, and promote and improve support services available at Manchester Metropolitan University though events and regular meet ups.
Rita Lewin, Director of Student Services, said: “We’re really proud of The Union for bringing attention to such a serious issue. Our Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service worked closely with the Students’ Union throughout their It’s OK campaign to support their activity and events, such as the MMU Mind Festival on University Mental Health Day, and to implement improvements to the service as identified by our students. Many congratulations on the award.”
Molly Maher, Campaigns Co Ordinator at The Union said: “Our outgoing and returning Officers should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved through the campaign. Their creativity and honesty about mental health has inspired a community of students to take action and share their stories. From big, participatory events to more intimate and personal sessions, this campaign has engaged, supported and sustained the energy of passionate students.
“The campaign took a two-pronged approach, raising awareness about and engaging with the diversity of mental health needs, as well as making tangible and long term change to the services provided by the University.”
The judges thought that ‘It’s OK’ was “a simple tagline with a serious campaign behind it” and made mention of the MMU Mind Festival, which took place in March 2017, calling it “a great platform to bring students together to both raise awareness and make positive change”. The day involved a number of events, activities and student-led workshops including meditation, a non-binary transition workshop, tips for wellbeing from student enterprise MetMUnch, as well as an evening panel discussion with mental health and wellbeing experts.
The NUS Awards celebrate the work done by Student Union’s across the country. Now in its eighth year, the Awards give unions the opportunity to receive national recognition for their efforts. The Awards are judged by an experienced panel from across the education sector and beyond.