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#BoysDoCry Case Study: Winchester Students' Union
By Winchester SU, Megan Ball
In support of University Mental Health Day on 5 March 2020, we want to share this case study from Winchester Students' Union campaign #BoysDoCry.
#BoysDoCry – Megan Ball, President, Winchester Student Union
When the 2019/20 Sabbatical Team came into office last July we made a promise to ourselves – we wanted to run campaigns that didn’t simply raise awareness, but made a real difference. Campaigns that made people think, made people talk, and made people reconsider their stances on certain topics.
The University of Winchester is historically a teaching college, and is heavily dominated by Arts and Social Sciences, meaning that we have a much larger percentage of female identifying students than male. We focus a lot of our efforts on mental health awareness and the importance of speaking out about our emotions and how we’re feeling. As a Sabbatical Officer team, we’re often ensuring that our emotions are obvious to students – showing that this might be the best job in the world, but that it can sometimes be very hard.
As a predominately female identifying institution, there is the risk that our male identifying students and communities feel lost and unable to speak out. So, we launched our #BoysDoCry Campaign, and created a safe space for our male identifying students to have an open and honest chat about the last time they cried. A great deal of the males that feature in the video are from our Sports Teams, overseen by the Vice President, Activities, Ellen O’Dwyer, who spearheaded this campaign. Being performance ready all the time is exhausting and often leaves no time for self-awareness or caring for one’s mental wellbeing. We were so proud of all our male sports teams, societies, wellbeing representatives, and students who took part, and their bravery, friendship, and support for one another is admirable.
From crying over grief, crying over things being a bit too much, crying because they’d had a bit too much to drink, to crying because actually, sometimes its just okay to cry. Everyone who featured in the video opened up the conversation, meaning that more people are protected, supported and know that it’s okay to not be okay. We were astounded by the support for this campaign from our students and our staff, but also students, Sabbatical Officers, staff members and other individuals from Universities and Student Unions all over the country. We are glad that Winchester has started this conversation, and we want everyone to know – guys, we hear you, we support you, and we want to help you in any way that we can.
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