Talking the Talk and Walking the Dog on Mental Health

L-R: Scot Gardiner - Heart of Midlothian Football Club, Malcolm Deans - Heriot-Watt, David Fraser - Ryden Property and Miranda Matoshi - Heriot-Watt Student Union

Heriot-Watt University is raising awareness of mental health among its staff and students and demonstrating its commitment to supporting positive mental health across the University community, by fundraising to support SANE's Black Dog Campaign.

The University marked its involvement on World Mental Health Day by hosting a visit by Scotland's only SANE Black Dog statue, Angus, brought to Edinburgh in a partnership between SANE and Ryden Property Consultants. Heart of Midlothian FC, who train at the Football Academy at the Edinburgh Campus, also lent its support.

The Campaign is all about reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and encouraging people to seek help early, rather than suffering in silence, using these Black Dog statues to bring the campaign to life.

Malcolm Deans, Director of Heriot-Watt Campus Services and Chair of the Healthy Universities Group

The University has launched a campaign to raise the funds to buy its own Black Dog statue as a permanent demonstration of Heriot-Watt's support of the aims of the SANE Black Dog Campaign. The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 depression will be the world's most disabling condition. Surprisingly it is still not known what causes the condition and so treatments and therapies vary.

The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from antiquity to the present day. The Black Dog Campaign, launched by the mental health charity SANE in 2011, reduces the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages people to seek help early, rather than suffering in silence.

Malcolm Deans, Director of Heriot-Watt Campus Services and Chair of the Healthy Universities Group, formally announced the University's commitment to the SANE Black Dog Campaign and launched the fundraising activities, supported by Scot Gardiner from the Heart of Midlothian FC management team and David Fraser, partner with Ryden.

Mr Deans said, "One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. As a University we support everyone, staff and students, to reach their full potential and it is crucial that we create an environment of understanding and support.

"The Campaign is all about reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and encouraging people to seek help early, rather than suffering in silence, using these Black Dog statues to bring the campaign to life.

"Our aim is to have our own Black Dog, a Heriot-Watt and SANE partnered statue that we can move around our campuses to show our dedicated support to raising awareness, reducing stigma and providing services. By supporting the campaign, the University will be taking tangible steps to contribute to supporting those suffering from mental ill-health."

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, said, "University should be an exciting and enriching experience for students, but it can also be a stressful and challenging one. We are delighted that Heriot-Watt is raising awareness of depression and mental illness, and we hope our Black Dog Campaign will encourage students to seek support if they need it during this important time in their lives."

How to donate

You can follow the Heriot-Watt Black Dog Campaign on twitter @HWUBlackDog

Donate £3 by texting SANE HWU to 70300

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