By Ed Southgate, co-Editor in Chief
and Laura Reid, University Correspondent
Students at Bristol University were today encouraged to look out for each other's wellbeing, at a 'march for mental health'.
Grace Carroll, a member of Support Our Services, told a crowd of over 100 students that there are 'incredible people working in our University to help you'.
She said that 'you can't see mental illness, which makes it easier for people who don't want to see it to pretend it's not there', but assured her peers that 'you are not alone'.
'It is time to reverse the stigma around young people's mental health', she concluded.
Support Our Services is a student-led group that has been campaigning for improved mental health provision and pastoral care. The group have been in discussions with the University, and it is understood that these have been positive and constructive.
Ruth Day, from the campaign group, added: 'There are staff at this university that truly truly care about us'.
The march started at Senate House, passed Beacon House and crossed through the Clifton Triangle before reaching Wills Memorial Building where organisers gave a speech. It had five demands, including more funding for student counselling, expanding specialist services such as SHERPA, and to combat the 'hostile environment' faced by international students.
Chants included 'mental health not VC wealth', 'our health not for sale', 'power to the student, not to Hugh Brady' and 'people not profit'.
Prosepctive postgraduate students were trying to navigate through the chanting crowd, because the march fell on the same day as a University Open Day.
The march was organised with SOS, Bristol Labour Students, Bristol Cut the Rent, Bristol Green Soc, People and Planet, FemSoc and Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity.
This year, new initiatives have been introduced to support student mental health. It included providing an opt-in service for a named parent or carer to be contacted by the University if a student is thought to be at risk, and it is currently spending over £6million on mental health.
Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady has called student mental health a "sector-wide crisis", and has been encouraging all higher education institutions to make it a strategic priority.
The full list of Bristol's support services are available here.
Most people who are thinking of taking their own life have shown warning signs beforehand.
These can include becoming depressed, showing sudden changes in behaviour, talking about wanting to die and feelings of hopelessness. These feelings do improve and can be treated.
If you are concerned about someone, or need help yourself, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
Other student support services include:
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/ 0808 802 5544
Papyrus https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ 0800 068 41 41
Student Minds http://www.studentminds.org.uk/findsupport.html