Listen to Lauren Peck, the 2017 UQMind Chair and one of the creators of UQMind, explain the purpose and aims of UQMind, events that we run throughout the year, and how to get involved.
You could be excused for never having heard of UQMind before. The incubation period from casual conversations between colleagues in late 2015 to the formation of a new branch within the UQMS in 2016 was as rapid as it was exciting. It all began with a simple question – why isn’t anything being done for the health and wellbeing of our cohort? As first year students, the hazards we were to face in coming years were as daunting as they were well-documented, but safe passage through these was not – and it certainly was not represented by the beaten path. UQMind is made up of a group of students who decided to take on this challenge, and do something meaningful and real, as med students helping med students.
The concept itself is simple, and seems like something that could happen quite organically, but the closer to reality the committee got, the less clear our goals became. We decided to keep it basic. It begins with a mantra: surviving and enjoying medical school is a balancing act – keeping up with your studies, having a life with your friends and family, and staying healthy and active can be challenging; although studying medicine is an enriching experience, there are times when it tests us all. From this, our mission is thus:
“To provide students with well-being advocacy and support that is consistent, not symptomatic and meets the wide and varied needs of the medical student cohort with a proactive focus towards prevention rather than treatment.”
If that sounds vague, that’s because it is. UQMind is here to do anything and everything UQ students need. In 2016, our inaugural year, this started with a group of second year MD students visiting Med Camp for a chat about all things studying medicine, including the importance of taking time weekly to NOT study medicine. Advice ranged from which textbooks were best to the importance of putting down those textbooks regularly to pursue other interests.
This continued later in the semester and saw UQMind successfully combine the two things med students love most: free things and coffee. In 30 minutes 300 medical students were caffeinated for free, with super smooth cold press coffee, as a congratulation for making it through first semester.
Working closely with the UQ School of Medicine we have been excited to promote the many new initiatives by the SOM to improve student life, including the provision of student services at Herston and the “Mindfulness into Compassionate Care” workshops designed to aid second years in preparation for their OSCEs.
Throughout 2016, UQMind built a strong social media presence with the goal of promoting the conversation around the health and wellbeing of medical students. A highlight of this has been “Minds of Medicine”, affectionately known as MOM, a photography project aiming to provide insight into life and medical school, one story at a time. The portraits aim to capture the struggles, successes and daily lives of our peers and have provided countless words of wisdom. Head over to www.facebook.com/UQMind to check it out!
The rest of 2016 saw us hosting more free morning tea events as well as Blue Week (an AMSA initiative aimed to improve mental health literacy and reduce stigma). We will also continue to develop our philosophy and initiatives throughout Phase 1 and into Phase 2.
2016 was an absolute ride for the UQMS Wellbeing Committee and all the UQMind volunteers and we’d just like to take a moment to say thank you to the UQMS, UQ School of Medicine and the UQ Med cohort for their excitement, enthusiasm and support in this new, exciting, constantly growing venture! We are excited to see what 2017 holds for UQMind!
Oh, and if you’re wondering what our name means…. it’s a stem:
Mind your mates.
Mind your wellbeing.
Mind your mental health.