The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has launched a new podcast series to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week as part of its ongoing commitment to removing the stigma around mental health.
To launch the series, Let's Talk Now, the first episode features Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol Professor Steve West and Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees having an open and wide-ranging conversation on the challenges of supporting health and wellbeing in large organisations in Bristol, and how their own personal experiences have shaped their understanding of mental health. Touching on their own childhoods, family backgrounds and relationships, the episode explores the importance of speaking up, building emotional resilience and ensuring equality of access to health services in the city.
For the rest of the 11 episodes in the series, UWE Bristol invited students and staff from across the University to have open conversations about their mental health, share their stories, and explore ideas to develop positive wellbeing in individuals and communities. Future episodes feature moving, insightful and surprising conversations between students and staff on topics including anxiety, depression, grief, loneliness and self-esteem. A new episode will be available to download every week.
Steve West said of taking part in the podcast:
“I'm very proud to be a guest on this first episode of this podcast alongside the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees. It's essential that we continue to destigmatise talking about mental health, and remind our students and young people in Bristol that experiencing these issues is not something they need to hide.
“I hope that by sharing our personal experiences, the Mayor and I can help others to realise that mental health challenges can happen to anyone at any time of life. It's only by having the kind of honest and open conversations covered in this podcast that we can break down potential barriers and ensure everyone knows when and where to seek further support.”
Marvin Rees said:
“Having a conversation seems like a simple act, however for many a conversation about mental health is one of the toughest things they'll ever do. It's important that we all take time to talk about how we feel and our past experiences and I welcome the approach Steve and UWE Bristol are taking to encouraging people to talk. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of my own experiences as part of this excellent podcast series and urge anyone facing their own mental health challenge to seek the support they need.
“As a city we have committed to create the opportunities for people to live a life in which they are mentally and physically healthy by including this shared ambition in our recently launched One City Plan. Achieving this bold ambition will take citywide collaboration and support across all sectors and communities to remove the stigma and inequality associated with mental health and I am delighted to see organisations beginning to rise to this challenge.”
This podcast is part of the University's #LetsTalkNow campaign and also forms part of UWE Bristol's Mental Wealth Lab initiative, which brings together a series of activities across the University which explore new and innovative approaches to developing and promoting positive mental health.
Through the Let's Talk Now podcast, events, panel discussions, guest talks, academic research and activities co-created with the Students' Union, Mental Wealth Lab is designed to help students and staff learn more about how they look after their own and others' mental health and wellbeing.
The series was recorded at UWE Bristol between March - May 2019 by students from the Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies alongside UWE Bristol's communications team.
For information about the wellbeing support options available at UWE Bristol, please visit Mental health and wellbeing.