Last year I approached UJS with an idea, which was for them to run a mental health campaign.
This was a few months after I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and only close family and friends knew about it. But why? Why was I embarrassed to tell people? I realised that I'd had enough and knew I needed to speak out about it.
It’s often difficult to speak out about mental health, especially within the Jewish community. What I couldn’t understand was why that is. It’s perfectly normal to talk about physical health over the Shabbos table, but for some reason mental health is a shady subject.
I’m not one to be told not to do something and so I approached UJS. From this, I proposed a motion at UJS Conference, the first time I had publicly spoke about my illnesses and the first time I had ever really volunteered to do public speaking. The motion passed unanimously and UJS was mandated to do work on mental health awareness.
So Reclaim was born - reclaiming the conversation around mental health. We focussed on strong social media with vlogs from students with lived experience of mental illness as well as an online noticeboard where people could anonymously post their thoughts. In addition, we had former Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger at our flagship event in London and alumni speaking at other events around the country.
But we can do better.
This year whilst keeping our social media presence strong with videos, infographics and signposting to places you can go to if you would like to seek help, we will also have a stronger presence on campus. From Brighton and Exeter to Scotland and Ireland, we want to open up the conversation about mental health. If you don’t have an event on your campus and would like help to organise one or if you personally want to get involved then get in touch by emailing [email protected] or messaging Louise J-Soc Officeron Facebook.
Remember if there isn’t an event on your campus, you can still get involved online or we can help you travel to other campuses for events.
It’s time to reclaim the discussion around mental health.
Welcome to Reclaim.
J-Soc Officer 2016-17