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Wednesday 10 November 2021

UCLan chosen to deliver mental health programme for LGBTQ+ community

The University is one of 18 in the UK to be chosen

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is among a select group of institutions which have been chosen by the Government to deliver mental health programmes to support students.

Led by UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone, the Creative Mental Health Framework has received Government funding which aims to reduce the mental health stigma for the LGBTQ+ community.

The project, which is one of 18 selected nationwide, will be delivered by students, for students, harnessing creativity to raise awareness, reduce barriers and tackle stigma. Students will learn how to support each other, practise self-care and understand mental health triggers. Through the production of arts and media content, they will develop a strong mutual understanding of LGBTQ+ and mental health issues.

Emma Speed, Director of UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone, said: “Creativity is at the heart of this peer-to-peer, interdisciplinary offer, with student experience content breaking down engagement barriers. We will work closely with mental health academics, students and researchers to apply creativity to bring diverse students together in a mutual goal to reduce barriers to better mental health.

"Creativity is at the heart of this peer-to-peer, interdisciplinary offer, with student experience content breaking down engagement barriers"

Emma Speed, Director of UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone

“This initiative harnesses creativity to support mental health through performance, art, media production and podcasts. There will also be a TV talk show programme, similar to The One Show, produced by students and it will air on Showcase TV. Students involved in this delivery will be from diverse groups and disciplines across the University, in addition to the LGBTQ+ community.”

In addition to the performance and production aspects of the programme, Tate Liverpool will deliver arts in health practice training to 30 academics and students while an additional 30 students and academics will be trained by Growing Resilience to become mental health champions. The focus on recruitment for these 60 places will be on members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Alison Jones, Community Programme Manager at Tate Liverpool, said: “Encouraging young people to develop and use their creative skills is a key tool in positively impacting wellbeing and we hope the project can make a significant difference in the lives of many young people.”

Also, a play will be written addressing some of the issues faced by those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Students from UCLan’s BA (Hons) Acting course will be involved in the writing, production and delivery of this play, which will serve as a finale to the creative activities in September 2023.

"Encouraging young people to develop and use their creative skills is a key tool in positively impacting wellbeing"

Alison Jones, Community Programme Manager at Tate Liverpool

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, said: “Having a mental health condition should not be a barrier to success in higher education, but for many students this is still the case. Data shows that students reporting a mental health condition are more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate with a first or 2:1, and progress into skilled work or further study – compared to students without a declared condition. We also know that students come to university or college from a range of backgrounds and that their individual journey, and the kind of support they require, is likely to be influenced by their specific circumstances.

“That’s why this funding of targeted interventions for student mental health is so important. By paying attention to the diverse needs of students; universities and colleges can fine-tune the support they offer and ensure that all students, regardless of where they are from, have the best chance possible to succeed.

“Working with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education, we are pleased to be able to fund projects across a range universities and colleges targeting a number of priority groups. We look forward to working with these projects to develop and evaluate innovative and collaborative approaches to targeted support for student mental health, and to support the take-up of this learning for the benefit of students in all parts of the sector.”