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Mental Health Charity HUMEN calls on Student Unions to take part in Upcoming Mental Health Pilgrimage this December!

HUMEN's Founder River Hawkins (second from left) with Ugo Monye, Emma Rigby, and David Gandy

HUMEN, a charity focussed on reducing the number of male suicides in the UK, is today calling on university students across the country to approach their respective Student Unions to take part in its upcoming campaign, Rise Against Suicide. The aim being to encourage safe, progressive conversation in such gathering places – especially for young males.

Over 5,000 men in the UK and Ireland took their own lives in the last year, accounting for 74% of all suicides. However, men are half as likely to seek out the help and support they need for their mental health, as 14 men take their own lives every day. It’s the biggest killer of 20-34-year-olds in the UK and Ireland.

To raise awareness of these facts and encourage change, HUMEN’s supporters from around the country will embark on a 5,151m walk, starting and ending at participating Student Unions, on Sunday 4th December 2022. The 5,151 metres represent each man who lost his life to suicide in the last year. At the unions, participants will be encouraged to donate and support HUMEN’s work via its Mental Health Menu.

This initiative follows HUMEN’s University Mental Health League Table, a study from this summer that provided a better understanding into the mental wellbeing of over 7,200 students from universities across the country. This highlighted the need to improve staff training and budgets for student mental health services.

Student Unions are the cornerstone of British & Irish campuses and present an ideal gathering place for students. HUMEN believes they are the perfect place to encourage dialogue and identify mental health concerns – embracing unions and the opportunity they present to motivate students to talk, listen and connect. There are links between students, alcohol abuse and poor mental health, but HUMEN knows that you don’t have to be teetotal to have good mental health. The hope is that working with student unions and young people offers an opportunity to champion healthy relationships with alcohol from a young age.

Student Unions that get involved will receive support from HUMEN’s Spacemen, an experienced and dedicated team that help facilitate mental health conversations with students and have access to the full HUMEN care package. This package includes; “Talk to me, I’m HUMEN” T-shirts to help supporters connect, custom drink mats and HUMEN’s Mental Health Menu.

Supporters of the charity include Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy, Danny Cipriani, Emma Rigby, David Gandy, Tom Odell, and Ugo Monye to name a few, and this year it hopes to expand this list even more.

Founder and Actor, River Hawkins said:

“Students need friendly spaces to talk, listen and connect. As Student Unions are the cornerstone of every campus, they can play an important role in addressing suicide and mental health. 

We want universities to consider mental health support just as much as they value academic performance – and they want to help. The right to talk should never be a privilege.”

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