This is a programme initiative that aims to create a safe space for students, run by students and the perfect place for anyone looking for support and learning about mental health, personal development and equality, diversity and inclusion.
The Story behind the Programme
BreatheUnion, previously known as BreatheUni, was founded by Jeremy Lyons and his sister Louise Lyons-Appiah while they were attending the University of Westminster and the University of Birmingham respectively. Whilst studying his Masters in Psychology, Jeremy ventured into working and partnering with a number of charities, organisations and universities.
His vision was to provide a non-judgemental safe space for university students struggling to ‘just breathe’, amidst the pressures of the societal chronosystem. Aligned by visions, they joined forces with their cousin Michael Tabirade, to design a community inspired by the weekly Masteri Personal Development Hangout that happened every week for a year during the 2020 Pandemic. Michael produced a facilitation programme and framework that was developed to help support and train students within these communities.
As a force to be reckoned with Jeremy and Louise started organising weekly zoom sessions, to provide peer support using the mental health first aid training they received. These were ran in Birmingham, Nottingham and Westminister Universities. Social media was also a useful tool to reach more people, get feedback, and talk about their personal challenges. They found that most students were struggling with systemic issues around direction and social anxiety.
Their astounding work won Westminster’s 2022 Society of the Year award, and has created opportunities to be active members of the Youth Mental Health Board on We Are Beyond. They are active members of the Masteri Group leading on the work to establish BreathUnion societies across the UK.
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