The University of Sheffield and the Students’ Union have teamed up on World Suicide Prevention Day to become the first organisations in the country to back a campaign by the Lord Mayor Magid Magid.
Councillor Magid asked the University and the SU to be the first to commit to the campaign, in which he is trying to get 100 organisations around the country to sign a Suicide Prevention Charter by the end of the month.
Lilian Jones, President of Sheffield Students’ Union, added: “At Sheffield Students’ Union we are committed to ensuring our support services are well-designed and wide-reaching, and our students know where to go if they are experiencing mental health difficulties.
“We aim to create a culture where mental health is not stigmatised, but freely talked about, so that every student can access the help they need and get the most out of their University experience.”
The charter urges organisations to change policies to support mental wellbeing as well as develop their understanding of the risk factors.
Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re honoured that the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid chose the University of Sheffield to launch this important campaign, which is also backed by the Samaritans, and hope others will also support this initiative.
“Sheffield was the country’s first City of Sanctuary, a place that welcomes those who have faced distress. We are committed to working with our partners on positive mental health and suicide prevention, for the good of all those who make our University their home.”
The Lord Mayor, who is also a Councillor for Broomhill & Sharrow Vale, was elected by his fellow Councillors earlier this year, having been nominated by his fellow Green Party members.
He has proved a larger-than-life character in his first few months, garnering media attention for his attitude to Donald Trump, calling the US President a “wasteman”, and trying to change the way his role is perceived.
He said: “We want to send out a message that more can be done to prevent suicide and to educate people. We want as many people as possible to take the pledge and take that step further.
“It was a no brainer for me to ask the University of Sheffield to launch this campaign and get them to be the first people to sign up to the pledge because they already do so much amazing work. They are a university of sanctuary and it felt like a good representation of what this campaign is about so I am really grateful for their support.”