A project to address isolation and mental health issues at university has been developed by the University of Suffolk’s Students’ Union (SU).
The SU gives six free sessions to students who have been referred by student services and a volunteer buddy then accompanies them on a choice of 10 sport activities including yoga, zumba and badminton.
Referred students are asked to complete the Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale before taking part in the sports and are asked to complete it following participation in the scheme to measure its impact.
The aim of the Active Wellbeing Project is to provide early intervention for those who are at risk of developing mental health and wellbeing issues. The volunteers who have been recruited as part of the scheme receive mental health and first aid training.
Megan Rea, 18, is a software engineering student and signed up as a ‘buddy’ after leaving a different university because she felt isolated.
"I know how it is to feel low and like you've not really got anyone,” she said. “Some people don't like going to something like that alone, but I will go with the person, be next to them and they will have someone."
The SU is hoping that 300 people will benefit from the Active Wellbeing scheme, which was given £7,000 funding by British Universities & Colleges Sport.