As the new semester is now well underway, the Freshers' fair was an inevitable part of returning for the next year of university. Despite our students' union refusing to work with us as a society (or anything similar), we slipped under the radar to made an appearance with our colourful flyers. And it was there that I caught sight of the university's mental health society, ThinkMental — which inevitably sparked a collab since I'm up for doing anything that means I get to shout about mental health

Off the back of this, I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with ThinkMental’s president, Izzy, about all things ThinkMental, how to get involved and why it's such an important society to have at uni! Here's how that conversation went.

N.B. All paragraphs in italics are Izzy's answers to my questions.

So what actually is ThinkMental?

ThinkMental is a proactive, peer-led society trying to end the stigma of mental health! We run events, post on social media and aim to put students in touch with the resources that they need in order to have the best possible time at university.

How did you first get involved?

I joined in September 2015. I’d just returned to uni after dropping out due to a mental health crisis and I suddenly realised that there was an actual society about mental health at KCL! I joined as a publicity officer as I was desperate to help students going through similar things — and now, I’m president for the second year running!

Why do you think ThinkMental is so good?

It’s great because it creates a space for people to talk honestly and lets them know that it’s okay to do so. As well as that, the fact that it’s a peer-led group makes it more accessible and friendly!

What kind of events do you hold?

All sorts! We have fortnightly “Tea & Talk” sessions which is basically a peer support group — I bring in my kettle, we sit down, drink tea and ask people how they are. It’s nice because often people don’t really get asked that — how they are and what’s going on in their lives. It encourages them to open up to someone and puts them in contact with like-minded students.

We also run events where we provide platforms for people to stand up and share their stories which aims to empower both the speaker and the listener. Every person’s mental health story is unique but so totally worth listening too and we can always find common strands and move forwards together as well as support each other.

As well as this, we host mindfulness classes, anxiety workshops and other seminars to try and gives students tools to cope with the stresses of uni life (as we all know, there are so many!). We also run lectures on the more medical side of mental health so that people have the opportunity to learn more and get a wider and more comprehensive understanding of the realities of it.

If I'm honest, I was sold by the idea of a mental health society even before I really knew much about ThinkMental. After having the opportunity to chat a bit more with Izzy about the ins and outs of the group, I can only say that I'm even more persuaded. Every university in the world should have a place where people can go to be heard, where they can voice their concerns without fear, where they can seek help as soon as they need it. 

So let's pop the stigma of mental health together, one ThinkMental society at a time!

ThinkMental can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.