Earlier this week the college’s Students’ Union, BPCSU hosted their first Social Responsibility Day of the year with mental health as an important theme.
This year, Dorset Mind has been chosen by students to be charity of the year. With World Mental Health Day taking place today, 10th October, it was fitting that students were able to meet Pete Thompson, a former student and college staff member, who has won the ITV Pride of Britain Fundraising Award for supporting mental health causes including for Dorset Mind.
Pete spoke of his journey, both mental and physical, which led him to complete 44 Marathons in 44 European Countries on 44 Consecutive Days in 2017, followed by running the Tour De France earlier this year.
After realising his competitive running had led to fixation on heart rate zones, weight management and time in 2015, Pete sought to rediscover why he had started running to begin with; namely as a comforting escape and as a way to switch off. Pete’s ‘Marathons for the Mind’ challenges, aimed at raising money for mental health charities, were very much inspired by his desire to understand and improve his own mental health.
Pete relayed his firm belief that talking openly about mental health issues can lead to deeper understanding of the daily struggles many people face. “The College is somewhere I have fond memories of”, claimed Pete, as he expressed his hope that the talk “inspired a few students to take on their own adventure and understand their own mental health in a better way”.
Several students were motivated by what Pete had to say and were particularly encouraged by his ability to overcome his problems and help others. Several vowed to do more to help their fellow students, to be open about mental health and the different challenges people face.
Dee Swinton from Dorset Mind, who also spoke at the talk, highlighted the importance of talking and educating about mental health problems. Dee highlighted some striking statistics particularly relevant to the College’s students; for example 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and a massive 75% by the age of 24.
As well as mental health, the Social Responsibility Day also gave students the opportunity to think about the environment. In the afternoon, students were able to attend a screening hosted by Ecotainment of the ground-breaking film ‘The True Cost’, a documentary which asks us to consider who really pays the price for our clothing.
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, ‘The True Cost’ is an eye-opening journey around the world and into the lives of the people who make our clothes. Students commented they had gained a much greater awareness of issues within the fashion industry from watching the film, with some students even suggesting they would use the lessons learned when trying to make their own impact on the fashion world in business and at university.
To find out more about BPCSU’s Social Responsibility Days, visit studentfirst.org.uk or call 01202 205737. If you want to help local charities such as Dorset Mind, get involved with BPCSU’s Facebook Volunteering group, where they will be regularly sharing volunteering and fundraising opportunities throughout the year. Students can also organise volunteering clubs and activities to fit in around their studies by visiting the Students’ Union in The Hub.