We spoke to Jess, one of our Student Mental Health Project Coordinators, who’s leading on the development of Scotland’s Student Mental Health Conference, to get her thoughts on our exciting flagship conference! Check it out:
What distinguishes Scotland’s Student Mental Health Conference from other conferences covering the topic of student mental health?
This conference is absolutely aimed at improving the support for student mental health support in Scotland, looking with a key focus at what is already happening on a national level, on a local level and on an institutional level; and then considering how we link those all up to offer students in Scotland the very best support possible. (How do we all work together to achieve this common goal?) The agenda will be voted on by a student panel, so it will represent the views and wants of the students it is aiming to support.
What is the level of student involvement in the planning process?
We are keen that students’ voices are represented throughout planning process of our conference. We have invited all students in Scotland to sit on a voting panel, which will give feedback on and decide which showreel and workshop submissions are taken forward to our agenda, ultimately shaping the conversation on the day. We have split these panels into Workshops and Showreels, so that if a student would like to, they could submit a session for a workshop and sit on the showreels panel without a conflict of interest.
What is the difference between a workshop and a showreel?
A showreel is a 20–minute presentation with a short Q&A session at the end. This could be a great opportunity to present research, a new initiative, a new working group.
A workshop is a 50–minute activity-based session. Delegates should leave feeling inspired with something tangible, be that a new idea, a new plan, or something they just want to research further.
What networking opportunities will there be?
So, so many. Whilst we envisage plenty of networking opportunities for delegates on the day through engagement in the sessions and our interactive exhibition space (have I mentioned that yet? We are eschewing stalls this year, and inviting “stallholders” to bring posters, videos and demonstrations of their work to showcase and discuss) we also want to offer space through our website, our delegate pack (there’s going to be posters of projects/initiatives with contact details) and through our live feeds. We want to build your networks!
What aspect of the conference are you most looking forward to?
I think one of the most exciting things about this Conference is the amount of possibilities it will platform. How often do we get to discuss (loudly) the fantastic student mental health initiatives going on in Scotland to the point where we could nationally be aware of it? How often do we get to discuss the ways we’re all cogs in our shared goal to reduce student mental ill health? I got too excited in a meeting the other day and used the word “phenomenal”, but actually, I do think this Conference could feed into (as its own cog) something “phenomenal”.
Head to thinkpositive.scot/2020-conference for more information!