Mental Health Matters - the U21 Mental Health Symposium

On Wednesday 21st July, the first U21 cross-cluster Mental Health symposium took place, with over 60 participants from across the network in attendance. The symposium brought together Gareth Hughes, lead author on the UK Mental Health Charter, Dr Andrew Hoang, a Postdoctoral fellow at Hong Kong University and Dr Katherine Strasser Salinas, a psychologist from UC Chile. The event was chaired by Professor Barbara Dooley, University College Dublin whose research focuses on mental health and young people. There was lively, and engaging discussion between all the panellists which highlighted the situations and nuances in their particular regions as well as how many key issues and points were applicable across the globe.   

A key point to emerge in the wide-ranging discussions was the role that culture plays in mental health, with participants commenting that there were huge differences in the perception of mental health at national, local, institutional or subject level. This particularly highlighted a need to create a culture of support and community within institutions, and showed the importance of interconnecting departments to support both staff and students. The panellists all agreed on a need to exercise caution around the use of 'resilience' when describing students and staff and focus on creating resilient environments and communities - not putting the onus on the individual to be endlessly more resilient. 

Our speakers brought insightful contributions and thought-provoking questions to the discussion and we would highly recommend watching the recording if you were unable to attend. Please contact us at for further information. We look forward to sharing more cross-cluster events with you in the future.  

To find out more about the University Mental Health Charter, please visit -