The Black Dog Project is a student run project that aims to increase awareness of mental health issues in young people in our local community.
Zoe, a Psychology student and project coordinator describes the project:
‘’We believe there are gaps in many young people’s knowledge about mental health, and feel it is worrying that mental health issues are not sufficiently covered on the current national curriculum. Having access to the right information about mental health problems is extremely important both for reducing stigma around mental health and ensuring that young people know how to recognise and deal with mental health issues that may affect themselves or those around them.’’
To tackle this problem, the Black Dog Project runs student led lessons and workshops in local secondary schools, as well as other community groups such as scouts and guides, covering an age range of 10-18 years and topics ranging from depression and anxiety, wellbeing around exams, positive body image, and eating disorders.
They use a range of activities to deliver information and advice to young people from students who are more similar in age to them than their regular teachers. So far, this year the Black Dog Project has delivered four educational sessions, involving over 15 student volunteers and reaching over 250 young people.
At Black Dog Project, we recruit volunteers from all areas of the university and come together to learn about mental health and how we can best deliver this information to young people.
Zoe says ‘’As an entirely student led society, students are vital to Black Dog, and we believe it can be really engaging for the pupils we work with to learn from leaders that are similar in age to themselves.’’
The students involved in Black Dog have gained many skills, from presenting skills, knowledge about mental health issues, and passion and enthusiasm for engaging with young people.
The Black Dog project is hoping to expand and reach even more people next year. It is our hope that we will continue to bring together passionate students with young people in our community and promote knowledge and understanding of mental health issues. The Black Dog Society can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a similar organisation who could benefit from working with students, or, a student looking to get involved please get in touch!