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Cameron Grant Memorial Trust supports student wellbeing initiative

The Cameron Grant Memorial Trust aims to reduce the number of young people suffering from mental ill-health. The Trust was set up by the family of Cameron Grant, who tragically took his own life in November 2014 aged just 21. He suffered from depression for seven years before he died, but managed to hide this from his family and everyone who knew him. He seemed very happy at university and was planning to do a master’s degree. Outwardly he was always smiling and was always the one who was there to cheer everyone else up.

In February 2021, the Advancement Team at Northumbria University applied to the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust for a grant in partnership with the Students’ Union. Commencing in September 2021, the programme will involve the provision of subsidised memberships for students to engage in the Dog Walking Society. It is a positive and preventative healthcare initiative that students can access with the focus being upon the benefits of getting out and about, experiencing the outdoor environment and spending time with animals. The initiative will involve a partnership with Borrow My Doggy, enabling students to walk and spend time with the dogs of local people in a Covid-safe environment. Cameron Grant

The Trust awarded the grant to Northumbria University because it wanted to support an activity that Cameron would have loved to take part in whilst at university. The Trust’s aims are to raise awareness of young suicide, encourage those who are suffering in silence to ask for help, support mental health through outdoor activities and assist in the provision of education and support to increase awareness of the issues around young people’s mental health.

Alongside the programme, the Students’ Union is piloting a new mental health app called blOKes. Set up by alumnus Tom Home, blOKes is a not-for-profit CIC designed to encourage men to speak about their thoughts and feelings, connect with others and tell a #MaleTale. It’s aim is to create a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space for conversations around mental health to become more common and normalised among men. blOKes provides a closed online forum where men  aged 18+ can create a free blOKes account and share experiences, advice, tips and stories with other like-minded men. About 75% of suicides are male and it is the biggest cause of death in the UK for boys and men under 50, with a shocking 6,233 suicides each year (seventeen a day). There are many thousands more suffering from depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

The Cameron Grant Memorial Trust hopes that by spreading their message openly and honestly, they can help many others in Cameron’s memory. They are delighted to be working in partnership with Northumbria University to make a difference to the number of young people suffering with mental health issues. As well as supporting the animal therapy programme, the Trust has also produced customised coasters for the University, which give specific contact details for University and local mental health services. The coasters will be placed within the Students’ Union and University hospitality areas to raise awareness of the support available to students.

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