The Aye Mind team recently hosted speedy message and image mental wellbeing workshops at the NUS (National Union of Students) Mental Health Summit.
Why is this conference important?
For many, the time you spend at University is filled with ups and downs. The pressure that students are under can be debilitating to their learning. The conference had a great turn out, which highlighted how many of the professionals in higher education see the importance in addressing mental wellbeing in their institutions.
What can we share with you?
We participated in the Mindfulness workshop led by Sandy MacLean, an advisor for the College Development Network and a current Masters student. Sandy took us through some simple mindfulness exercises to support our mental wellbeing. She talked about how the practice of mindfulness can benefit us in our everyday lives, rather than being mainly used as a treatment at the crisis points of mental health.
Sandy recommended these links for people wanting to learn more about mindfulness:
What did we bring to the conference?
We hosted two Aye Mind workshops to inform professionals who work with young people about:
- The new Aye Mind toolkit, which is still in development, will be open and free for anybody to use. The toolkit supports youth professionals who work in or around the mental wellbeing sphere to understand how to use digital technology to support young people. Whether you’re a rookie or a pro with technology you will be able to understand how digital can support youth mental health;
- The successful Aye Mind campaign we have been running in tandem with Young Scot. The campaign has involved a set of GIFs co-designed with young people’s messages, a series of informative Bored Panda articles on issues surrounding young people including exam stress and sleepless nights. We also have invited young people to make and submit Aye Mind mental wellbeing GIFs through the Young Scot site with over 78 submissions;
- The Aye Mind resource map to signpost young people and the people who work with them to an extensive collection of mental wellbeing resources for young people to use online.
After a quick overview of Aye Mind, the attendees got involved in creating their own Aye Mind mental wellbeing messages and images. A series of hands-on activities encouraged youth workers to use digital to support mental wellbeing.
‘I want to but I can’t find the motivation today’
‘Will I always be alone?’
‘I can’t think about the exams’
‘I need some space in my life, but I’m scared of missing all the fun’
We started by asking everyone to make mini personas. A persona is a snapshot of a person and allows idea generation that keeps that person in mind. Everyone simply wrote down a name of a young person with a quote on post-it notes. All the people present at the workshop had experience of working with young people, so they generated quick personas that were fictional or based on people they had come into contact with. This quickly gave a valuable, rich bank of mini personas, with their own small story to base ideas on.
From this, everyone formed a small groups. They grabbed some of the personas they had generated and created positive mental wellbeing messages to share. For instance, a mini persona was ‘I need some space in my life, but I’m scared of missing all the fun’
Jack. So for Jack, the creative message was ‘Space is good!’.
Each group then took a few of their favourite messages and create images to go with the message. They got their hands on play doh, little figurines, coloured paper and pens to set up the scene and create the story behind their messages.