The Mental Health Awareness Committee (MHAC) of study association Arago for Applied Physics at the University of Twente is dedicated to increasing awareness of mental health among students.
The committee, consisting of nine enthusiastic students from various academic years, organises informative activities to address mental health issues.
The MHAC was founded in September 2021, after a group of students met with the current board of S.V. Arago to discuss how the newly established Student Welfare Fund could be used to support student well-being. Since then, the committee has organised 13 activities, including three lectures and two training sessions. The recent lunch lecture on the neurological aspects of depression was attended by many students, in which lecture hall Carré 3C with a capacity of 94 people was almost completely filled.
The MHAC has also organised workshops on the topic of suicide prevention, which have proven to be very popular among students. The time required to organise an activity varies widely, with finding speakers for lectures being the most time-consuming. Despite this, the committee remains enthusiastic and dedicated to promoting mental health awareness among their peers.
The MHAC regularly receives ideas for well-being activities from students and members of the educational staff.
Recently, the Faculty Action Team was established, a group of students from different study associations who will focus on student well-being from a faculty-wide perspective. The team is still in its early stages, but the MHAC sees great benefits in this collaboration to expand their activities to other faculties and reach even more students. In addition, the MHAC has been working with the TN/AP program on the 'buddy system' since this academic year. In the buddy system, first-year students are paired with senior students. This way, new students can ask their 'buddy' questions about small, study-related things but also personal things about student life that they might not ask their parents or study advisors, for example. The MHAC sees these collaborations as important steps in promoting student well-being and reducing study stress.. The MHAC sees these collaborations as important steps in promoting student well-being and reducing study-related stress.
Finally, the MHAC faces various difficulties in organising activities. While some tasks are simple, others require extensive planning, especially for sensitive and emotionally challenging topics. Nevertheless, the committee remains enthusiastic and dedicated to increasing awareness of mental health and providing meaningful events and workshops for students.
If you have any questions about this article or want to know what wellbeing activities are planned for 2023, please contact Arago's MHAC committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.