By Tom McNeile
Mental health is a problem that has impacted a lot of lives recently. Whether it is something that has affected you personally or perhaps someone that you know, awareness of the issue is becoming more and more important.
As students we have come to expect that our time at university will include a rich social life and a diverse variety of extracurricular activities. The removal of these opportunities has unsurprisingly resulted in a drastic change in our well-established routines.
The enforcement of a second national lockdown is required to deal with the new surge in COVID-19 cases, but it has led to a significant rise in mental health illnesses, with 24% of young adults reporting feelings of loneliness during the first lockdown.
A familiar scheme that has successfully improved understanding of this matter is the charity Movember which involves individuals growing facial hair and taking part in other challenges in order to raise both awareness of men’s mental health and testicular and prostrate cancer and funds for corresponding health projects.
One of the many teams that are getting involved this year are a group of third year Hilde Bede students living at 9 Elvet Waterside, also known under their Instagram Movember alias @m0vid19. Despite their questionable attempt at moustache growth they have decided to undertake a 24 hour cook to raise money, with the food being delivered to charities including Durham Action on Single Housing (DASH) and MovingOn.
The problem of rough sleeping in Durham is something that many charities are trying to tackle. I have recently seen the impact first-hand of an organisation called Heat for the Homeless that provides hot water bottles to rough sleepers around Durham city. Charities like these can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
MovingOn is a charity that provides temporary shelter for young homeless people, training them in a range of skills and inspiring confidence and resilience with the intention that this will lead to independent living in the future. DASH is currently undertaking a ‘vulnerable women’s project’ which aims to provide support to women with complex support needs in the county Durham area.
On top of their deliveries to these charities the boys will also be delivering to students who want to forego a takeaway this Saturday night and instead take their chances with a home-cooked meal by m0vid19, in exchange for donations.
The good news of a potential vaccine on the horizon shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel in our battle against COVID-19. Unfortunately, mental health disorders are a concern that will persist far beyond the end of this pandemic. It is vital that we continue to raise awareness for such an important cause.
Please follow @m0vid19 on Instagram to see updates from the team on how they get on this Saturday!
Image by Old Toms Gin Bar