Mental Health Awareness Week at RNC

A large group of students and staff are gathered in a big group outside the student hub. They are sitting and standing around a big bench all holding up big pieces of paper with different emoji faces on and other messages to do with mental health. Back row, left to right – WSO Sarah, Lois, Ciaron, Angel, Principal Mark Fisher, JJ, Callum, Joe, Emily, Emma, Libby, Tijana, RSO Bridget, Esther. Front row,, left to right – RSO Judith, Emma, Kim, Maisy, Guide Dog Willow, Tiri, Tamzin, Danielle and RSO Anna.

This week, 8-14 May, is Mental Health Awareness Week and at RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) we are celebrating the week by running a series of events and activities to raise awareness amongst our students and staff. The Mental Health Foundation states that “Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem.” RNC Residential Manager Rachel Beaumont adds “People know a lot about their physical health and are comfortable talking about it but there is still this stigma that surrounds mental health and we need to change that.”


The theme for the week is ‘Surviving or thriving’; looking at why so many people are living with mental health problems and seeking to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. RNC Principal Mark Fisher says “Mental health is so complex and everybody has their good days and their bad days. We hope that raising awareness about it means that we can talk openly about it, sharing tips and coping strategies to help us to have more good days.”

At RNC we are hosting a series of activities for students and staff which include introductions to exercise, mindfulness, mediation, crafts and massage as well as walks , talks and much more. Rachel Beaumont, who also chairs the College EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) group, has coordinated the week and says “These activities give students and staff, some who might not normally interact with each other, the chance to talk while being introduced to some new activities which help maintain good health. People often think about mental health as being a problem so we hope that getting everyone involved helps to normalise it.”


On Facebook our staff are sharing their top tips about why they’re thriving with mental health, how they maintain good mental health and their methods for coping with stress. Over the next week we will also be hearing from our students in a series of blogs where they talk about their mental health, which will be published on our website and shared across our social media channels during the week. To join in the conversations follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page. RNC Digital Media Officer Bik Lee says “It’s really brave for our students to talk so openly about their personal experiences and feelings. Admitting you have a problem can be the most difficult thing but they prove that talking about their feelings and getting help was the best thing they could have done to manage their mental health. “


Read our student blogs;

David – Challenging the stigma of male anorexia

Tamzin – I’m not moody; I’ve got bipolar

Ibz – Losing my sight meant that I found myself

Danielle – I won’t let my anxiety get the better of me


If you would like to find out more about RNC, please call us on 01432 376 621 or email


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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