Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Research into wellbeing and mental health

Recently Dr Melanie Limb has given a presentation at a number of University conferences and meetings about wellbeing and mental health.  Called ‘One in Four’, the presentation referred to the recent NHS Task ForceReport  (Feb 2016) indicating that One in Four of the people surveyed had suffered mental illness in the last year.  Of those who suffered 75% received no support and those with serious problems could expect to live 15 to 20 years less than those without the illness.  The same study showed that 19% of those surveyed believed that one of the main causes of mental illness was a lack of self-discipline and will-power.  Melanie used two poems she had written about depression to give some insight into what depression is like.  She drew on a strand of academic research leading from the ‘emotional turn’ in Geography that recognises the value of non-traditional methods of writing to the academy.  Melanie pointed to evidence that the Academy suffers from a lack of communication about mental illness and an atmosphere of non-disclosure (see Horton and Tucker, 2014) and ‘suffering in silence’.  By talking to people about her poetry, Melanie finds that people sometimes overcome their reticence and find ways to make connections that can support them better when the condition is at its worst.

Dr Melanie Limb
Dr Melanie Limb also gave a poetry reading at the Story Tellers Event held at the University in March.  The event provided an opportunity for members of staff to read their own original work. Melanie has performed at a number of Open Microphone events in and around Northamptonshire, with the purpose of raising awareness of the devastating effects of depression and anxiety, while challenging stereotypes of, and prejudice against, those who suffer.   

Two workshops using the poetry and statistics on mental illness and well-being are already scheduled for October 2016.  In these presentations a greater number of poems will be used to explore certain aspects of mental illness and recovery and talk about strategies that we can all use to look after our mental well-being.  This will provide opportunities to explore the project’s application in respect of the Health and Well-being ChangeMaker Challenge.

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