Two health and social students from Telford College, have been praised for their initiative aimed at helping students’ mental health. Liam Francis and Caitlin Smith developed Mental Health Movement, designed to give students someone to talk to and be able to point them in the right direction for help. Their Facebook Page has already amassed over 5.3k followers and continues to grow. The posts are a collection of inspiring quotes, resources and practical help and awareness of mental health challenges. Unifresher spoke to Liam and Caitlin to see how the movement is doing and what their plans are for the future,

What is Mental Health Movement?

Mental Health Movement initiative on facebook

Mental Health Movement is essentially a messaging service for students struggling with mental health. They guide them to the right contact, service or organisation to get help. Most importantly, this service is available to anyone from anywhere, which means pointing to the right source of help in different regions and countries.

Students have contacted Mental Health Movement in different languages, which means that it can sometimes require translating and research into different support available around the world.

“We have realised a big increase in international activity where we have multiple different ethnicities and countries which has amazed us! So we use language translation as a way of speaking to them!” (Liam)

How did Mental Health Movement start?

Liam originally started the page posting help and support videos, but asked Caitlin to help run it. Speaking to Liam, we asked why he decided to set up the page.

“We started this page to help young adults, adults, parents and carers for themselves and for others. We wanted to provide access to multiple online help platforms and make it easy for anyone to seek help. There’s also an anonymous policy to help whoever we are talking to not feel as nervous as they would when speaking to someone either on the phone or face to face.” (Liam)

The Facebook page has been active since September 2022, and having already gained such a strong following, shows just how valuable it is. From the posts, you can see that Mental Health Movement is designed to support all sorts of mental health challenges, whether it’s related to pregnancy loss, exam stress, seasonal depression feeling safe while out and about and much more. There’s no doubt this platform has the scope to help many.

It’s clear the mission of spreading awareness to sources of help is important to the founders.

“We have also popped posters up around college to help students within college access support, we will show them all the necessary access and options to help them get through college they either go by themselves or we sit with them and listen to them so they feel comfortable around us, we will do anything to meet their needs also.” (Liam)
Their tutor at Telford College, Tania Morgan, also recalls how Liam and Caitlin are always getting involved in events, charities and other initiatives at college. That’s in addition to being full-time students.

What is the future of Mental Health Movement?

“Our goal in the future is to keep the account going for as long as possible so then everyone has someone they can talk to, we do also share all information about.” (Liam)
Liam and Caitlin have a genuine passion for helping others. After college, they plan to go into mental health nursing as well as keeping the page going.
Their approach is refreshingly personal. They understand the nuances of mental health challenges and offer a platform where individuals can reach out for support. Their commitment to responding to messages in different languages exemplifies their dedication to providing accessible and inclusive support.
There has been recognition of the need to address student mental health. The Office for Students (OfS) allocated £9 million to projects aimed at developing innovative practices in mental health support. Additionally, in the 2021/2022 academic year, an extra £15 million was dedicated to addressing mental health challenges faced by students.
However, it’s still not always easy for students to access help. This may be due to not knowing who or where to turn to for help, or not feeling comfortable in reaching out. This is most likely why Liam and Caitlin’s Mental Health Movement initiative is so effective. It ensures anonymity and is a contact point to guide students and young adults towards the right kind of help.
If you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn, visit Liam and Caitlin’s page for advice on who to contact. You can also find tips on how to look after your mental health as a student here.