STUDENTS across Wales benefit from a program that develops resources and promotes the use of Welsh when discussing mental health and wellbeing.
Myf.cymru, a program run by Bangor University in partnership with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Aberystwyth University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, launches in the Senedd today (May 23) during an event sponsored by Llyr Gruffydd MS and attended by radio and television presenter Trystan Ellis-Morris.
The myf.cymru program partners recognized that there was a lack of dedicated online resources for students via Welsh.
As a result, funding has been provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to create a Welsh language website, app to help students with drug addiction in partnership with Helping Groups to Grow Developments Ltd, a series of five podcasts called Sgwrs? and a network of Welsh speaking therapists who support students at further and higher education colleges across Wales.
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Mair Rowlands, Director of Bangor Students’ Union, said: “What makes myf.cymru unique is that students have been involved in developing resources every step of the way, as well as contributing of their own original content.
“By enabling students to take ownership of the resources and participate, we hope that more Welsh students will want to participate, share their experiences and openly discuss mental health and wellbeing issues.”
Mabon Dafydd, President of the Union of Welsh Students Bangor (UMCB), said: “Student mental health and wellbeing has received considerable attention from the Welsh Government over the past three years, and NUS Wales is calling for a long-term strategy to support the mental health and wellbeing of students over 16.
“If a long-term strategy is formulated, a balanced Welsh language offer should be available to students across Wales.”
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Trystan Ellis-Morris is the host of the podcast series Sgwrs? which covers a wide range of topics affecting student mental health and wellbeing, including body image, coming out experiences as LGBTQ+, and adjusting to post-lockdown college life.
Joining Trystan are students from across Wales, Bangor University adviser Endaf Evans, and familiar faces from Welsh-language media and social media such as Jess Davies, Mari Gwenllian (HIWTI), Ellis Lloyd- Jones, Ifan Pritchard of the Gwilym Group, Non Parry and Tara Bethan.
Mr Ellis-Morris said he hoped listening to the podcasts would encourage more open conversations about student mental health and wellbeing issues through Welsh, adding: ‘It has been a privilege to listen to the students who participated.
“It’s not easy to talk in public about your feelings or what it’s like to live day to day with a mental health issue.
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“They are all really inspiring and I hope the podcasts will spark further discussion among students.”
Llyr Gruffydd MS, who has spoken publicly about his own mental health issues in the past, said mental health and wellbeing issues need to be a higher priority for policy makers and society as a whole.
“I am pleased to support the myf.cymru program and the work done to date, especially to ensure resource relevance through student engagement and participation.
“Research shows that students are at higher risk of developing mental health issues when they enter college or university, so it is essential that Welsh-speaking students have access to resources and services in their language. kindergarten and ensure a student voice when developing services. ”