Global campaigner and media sensation, Danny Bowman of ITV’s Fixers, will shine a light on his experience of body dysmorphia at a special event tonight at the University of St Mark & St John.
Taking place on Friday 21 January in the Desmond Tutu Theatre from 19:30, an evening of inspirational and myth-dispelling talks will include guests from Plymouth Mind and Broadreach House to discuss issues of mental health.
Marjon Student Union (MSU) Deputy President Charlotte Hook said: “This will be a great evening and is a very important part of our campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues.”
The MSU campaign launched with a life-sized ‘elephant in the room’ at the beginning of the year, in response to a 2015 survey by the National Union of Students. The survey said that eight out of 10 students (78%) had experienced mental health issues in the last year.
Danny Bowman’s story captured the media’s attention in 2013 when his campaign went viral. He says: “I was so preoccupied to the point I was spending ten hours a day in front of the mirror and used to think I could never have a girlfriend or any friends. I was exercising and purging to try to change the way I looked.
“With Fixers, I made a short film called ‘Perfection is Impossible’ based on my personal experience of Body Dysmorphic Disorder to educate young people and their parents about the condition, as well as reach a wider audience of professionals.
“Shortly after launching my Fixers film, my campaign went viral worldwide, garnering media attention and interview requests from across the globe. Covered internationally by hundreds of publications and news sites, it was reported in countries as far-flung as Russia, Bolivia, Indonesia, China, Lebanon and Pakistan.”
The University of St Mark & St John offers high quality student counselling and wellbeing services, as well as help with academic information and guidance, student funding, disability advice and more.
Jenny Barnicoat, Head of Student Support at the University said: “We are very supportive of the Student Union’s ‘Changing Minds’ campaign and their aims to reduce stigma around mental ill health. As a small university we get to know our students well and are therefore well placed to support them through intensive individual interventions, such as counselling, as well as through proactive work with students through the SU, academics and other professional services.”
The NUS surveyed 1,093 students in further and higher education in November and December 2015 on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on students.