Charlie Mason was inspired to become a mentor for Tackling the Blues after seeing how her friends and family struggled with their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. She shared her thoughts during Mental Health Awareness Week 2022.
Charlie, a lead mentor for the arts strand and Primary Education student, said feelings of loneliness and isolation were particularly common during lockdown.
“I knew it was affecting children and young people as well so I wanted to be a part of helping them with their mental health and learning more about how to improve their mental health.
“You can actually see the positive effect Tackling the Blues is having – I remember an amazing moment in a specialist school when a child I was working with who didn’t speak very often came over to sit on the floor with me and we worked together on drawing our ‘happy place’.”
Charlie said she felt very lucky not to have experienced much loneliness during her time at Edge Hill but said she found it hard being dropped off by her parents for the first time.
The 20-year-old from Leicestershire said: “I definitely felt very lonely while I was doing the first bits of unpacking and realising I was really far from home. If someone is in that situation I’d recommend talking to your flatmates, they probably feel the same way as you, and joining a society you are interested in as well as talking to people in your classes.
“I’d encourage anyone who is struggling with loneliness to just reach out to someone. One thing I’ve learnt is that people can’t read minds and while you may feel like you’re really struggling, other people may not be able to tell. So just have a conversation – whether in person, online or over the phone – it can really help you feel less alone and more supported.”
Working with Tackling the Blues has had a positive impact on Charlie’s own mental health and she now feels more confident in talking about her thoughts and feelings.
“From being involved in the programme my mental health knowledge and emotional literacy has developed significantly. I am also more aware of my own mental health and have developed a toolkit of ideas to use if I am feeling down. This also helps on my course as I have access to a wide variety of resources if I am planning for lessons involving mental health, emotional literacy or wellbeing.”