One in four of us will face mental health issues in our life. But the statistics are worryingly more acute for students. A recent study by the National Union of Students produced for parliament showed 4 in 5 students faced mental health issues in the last year.

On top of the pressures any student faces - imagine also being LGBT. Another report by the NUS’s LGBT arm in 2014 showed that 1 in 5 students face homophobia, and 1 in 3 face transphobia.

 

Jonny Benjamin, was going to take his life before a ‘“stranger on a bridge” stopped him. Speaking ahead of Student Pride, he said “Struggling with my sexuality was one of the factors that led me to nearly jumping from a bridge when I was 20. Luckily I was talked out of what I was about to do but there are countless others who aren't”

 

Whether it’s Jonny’s account, Olly Alexander talking so openly about his mental health in Attitude Magazine and Dan Beeson’s account on Gay Star News - National Student Pride have opened up their event to talk about the issues of mental health - because every account shows we’ve heard shows how talking, makes all the difference.

 

Jonny Benjamin: “Events like this are so important. It sends a message out that we’re serious about addressing this. We can change the numbers. People within the LGBT community don't have to struggle silently alone, get to the point of crisis or sadly take their own lives. It is our role as human beings and members of the LGBT community to help and support other members of the LGBT family, and send them that vital message-It Gets Better.”

 

When 48% of trans people in the UK under 26 have attempted suicide because of discrimination they suffer and mental health charity Re-Think statistics show gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population - it’s time to stand together on this one.

 

Speaking about the vital, but difficult topic at National Student Pride on February 6th at the University of Westminster’s Marylebone campus, opposite Baker Street, are:

 

  • Matthew Todd - Attitude Magazine Editor (Chair)

  • Jonny Benjamin - Mental Health Activist and documentary maker

  • Taz-Edwards White - LGBT Adult Mental Health & Wellbeing Coordinator At Metro

  • Bisi Alimi - Nigerian LGBT Activist

  • Munroe Bergdorf - Trans DJ

 

Taz-Edwards White said “It is really important to look after yourself, especially your mental health, I look forward to exploring this at the Festival’s Mental Health Debate.” With the Metro CEO Dr Greg Ussher adding:

 

“based on a 7,000 strong survey of young people - we know that LGBTQ+ young people are disproportionately affected by mental health issues – 42% of LGBTQ respondents reported going for medical help for depression or anxiety, compared to 29% of heterosexual non-trans respondents.

“The reasons for this are complex, but factors include: bullying and lack of support in our schools – 65% of LGBTQ+ young people think their school supported its pupils badly in respect of sexuality or gender identity; lack of stability – nearly one in ten LGBTQ+ young people reported they have to leave home for reasons relating to their sexuality or gender identity.”

 

Hatti Smart, Student Pride co-chair said:

 

“This year, National Student Pride will be placing a real emphasis on mental health, that affect LGBT youth disproportionately to their peers. It’s time we stood together as a community on this and just as we broke down the prejudice on being gay, bi and trans - start the conversation on taking the taboo out of mental health”

 

 

 

Notes to editors

  1. Last year’s event was given the British LGBT Awards ‘Best Event’ award beating London and Brighton Pride in the category.

  2. The event began at Oxford Brookes University in 2005 as a response to the Christian Union’s ‘Homosexuality and the Bible’ talk. Student Pride will continue spreading a message of acceptance in its 11th year, and continue to fight the LGBTphobia that is unfortunately just as prevalent as it was when we started. That’s why a University campus is our choice of venue.

  3. Every panel at Student Pride has confirmed, at least one LBQ women, one trans person and one person of colour. Diversity is vital at events - the LGBT community is a huge spectrum that goes long behind four letters, our definition of LGBT certainly does. Speaking at Student Pride 2014 Stonewall Co-Founder Lisa Power MBE said, “if they come for us it doesn’t matter if we are L, G, B or T. They’ll come for all of us” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. This drives everything we do - Solidarity with voices that need amplification.

  4. Paris Lees wrote in her Attitude column after the 2015 event "The welcoming of Trans people by gay community is exciting, one of the most exciting things to happen for trans progress since the Internet. Nowhere was this more apparent than at Student Pride.”

  5. Tickets for the event are now on sale, and are available on the Student Pride website. www.studentpride.co.uk/tickets

  6. A host of media sponsors who year on year have a huge contribution in enabling the event have already confirmed coverage of the event including Attitude magazine, Gay Star News, The Telegraph’s LGBT History Month Magazine, audioBoom and QX magazine. - Last year the event made international headlines with Dustin Lance Black’s comments on Hollywood agents and the announcement of a Trans storyline on Eastenders. Information on press passes below.

  7. METRO is a leading equality and diversity charity, providing health, community and youth services across London and the South East, with national and international projects. METRO works with anyone experiencing issues around sexuality, gender, equality, diversity and identity across our five domains: Sexual & Reproductive Health, Community, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Youth and HIV. To find out more about METRO’s work visit www.metrocharity.org.uk

 

National Student Pride is sponsored by:

 

 

 

Platinum: EY (6th year of sponsorship)

 

Gold: Clifford Chance (5th year of sponsorship)

Silver: Aviva, IBM, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Titanium: BP, GE Capital, Norton Rose Fulbright

 

Notes to editors:

 

Photos & logos can be downloaded from: www.studentpride.co.uk/press

 

 

Want to speak to students or sponsors regarding quotes and comments?

 

Interviews & press pass requests?

Please email: press@studentpride.co.uk

 

Apply for press passes here:

 

www.studentpride.co.uk/presspass

 

 

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