With the year drawing to a close and deadline season creeping up on us all, I talked to Ellie Spenceley, the incoming chair of the Wellbeing Network about all things wellness and her hopes and plans for next year. Ellie is currently a second year English Literature student and the Communications and Publicity officer for The Wellbeing Network.
How did you get into the wellbeing network?
Ellie explained that over the last year she had started to post more publicly on her social media channels about her own wellbeing and her mental health struggles:
“I found that I really enjoyed doing this as a way to spread awareness and also to help me with my own mental health struggles.”
Ellie also has written several articles for the Epigram Wellbeing section discussing her experiences, especially focussing on what it has been like struggling with mental health during a pandemic. In addition to this, she will be featuring on an episode of the Wellbeing Team’s new podcast Your Amazing Mind.
Ellie now feels that being SU Wellbeing Network Chair next year can help take her work on wellbeing to the next level: “I’m really passionate about destigmatising mental health and I think in a student environment, it is really important to talk about these issues. I’ve experienced mental health issues first-hand and I’m really glad that I can now be part of overseeing a network of like-minded people that will help support student wellbeing.”
What cool things have you done in your current role?
In answer to this question, Ellie told me about the many brilliant collaborations she had put together on social media.
For Mental Health Awareness Day, Ellie led an Instagram story takeover of the SU page and spotlighted events, societies, and resources that could help students who are struggling with their mental health.
Leading on from this, Ellie highlighted that her main aim with all her posts is to provide a hub of resources for students to find when they need them. She emphasised the importance of making student wellness services more navigable and easily accessible for students.
How has it been being on committee in a pandemic?
Ellie highlighted that even though committee work has been all remotely based this year, it has been a great year to be on committee.
She highlighted that her role in communications was more important than ever, particularly on the social media side to keep people connected:
“It has been great to use the social media skills that I already have and put them to good use.”
One difficulty of the pandemic that Ellie mentioned was trying to get people to come to virtual events, which can often appear quite draining after a full day of virtual uni.
Nonetheless, the Network has still pushed through and produced some amazing panels events that they have run on Facebook. These events have included specialist speakers and also collaborations with societies, such as one with a number of sports societies designed to raise awareness about men’s mental health.
What is your vision for the next year?
Drawing on the collaborations that the network did this year, Ellie is hoping to expand the collaborative potential of the network and she hopes to collaborate with the Women’s Network, the Trans Network and other societies to foster a more intersectional approach to wellbeing.
To achieve these approaches, Ellie is hoping to leverage her involvement and connections with other societies and to expand the network’s reach through more collaborative events as well as writing with student publications.
How can people get involved in The Wellbeing Network?
SU elections are coming up for the committee and the Instagram will be advertising details about this soon so keep an eye out for that.
Ellie is also keen to diversify the committee and encourage people from underrepresented demographics to run for committee so if that sounds like something you want to get involved in doing, definitely sign up!
Ellie highlighted that the committee is a great space to pursue your own projects and be part of forming a collective and cohesive vision for the Network and Wellbeing at Bristol and a fun way to meet and work with like-minded people.