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Mental health funding a priority for NUS hopeful Hope Murray

Mental health services and disability access are at the heart of her campaign.

Hope Murray became the Health and Wellbeing Officer at the 2019 Union elections. Fresh off that success she’s now campaigning for one of the four NUS Student Delegate positions.

A fourth year Business Studies student, Hope’s interest in student politics began on a study abroad trip in North Carolina. When the state was threatened by a hurricane, her host family took her on “hurrication” with them.

“They took me to the University of Georgia for a football game which sounds totally random but I then researched that campus … and they have a big thing about politics.”

“That was what sparked it then. I was like hmm, I’d quite like to actually get involved with this kind of campaign.

Her campaign in March had a strong focus on mental health and this election is no different. For Hope, a lot of this drive comes from personal experience.

“About a year ago I had a mental health breakdown. I have a mental health mentor now but I had to wait six weeks to get that. My mental health breakdown was quite severe, so that’s pretty bad. We need to improve on that.”

“The uni does, as I say, does try it’s best with the resources it has but for me to get paired with my mentor I had to go in and ask five times at the student hub. That’s the problem we’re up against.”

One of Hopes campaign posters around campus. Credit: Scott Fitzsimmons

This experience has lead Hope to be a lot more open about the struggles she has gone through.

“I kind of realised that we’re human, we’ve got to share it. If I can share tips that I’ve gathered to help other people why shouldn’t I?”

She now hopes to use the position as NUS delegate to “implement a national strategy that can be fed down to all universities.”

Hope has also talked a lot about her experience being neurodiverse, including in a recent article on Brig. She aims to make the campus more accessible for people with disabilities, if the funding can be secured.

Sport is another area where Hope is keen to see improvement in accessibility.

“I think we’re very good at promoting sport but we don’t really have any disability support. I do trampolining and gymnastics but there’s no way for me to compete as a disability sport.

“BUCS do it but I’ve never been offered the opportunity to do it as a disability one. I think we should have more disability sport in general. It could be like swimming, just more sessions that are centred around that.”

There are four candidates standing for four NUS delegate positions in the election, meaning that every candidate is effectively guaranteed their position. For Hope, this is a reflection of the way university politics are perceived by the larger student body.

“It’s quite a niche thing in some ways for some people I think, you’re either interested or you’re not.

“They don’t understand how it can help them build their CV. I looked at it that way, as well as the giving people a voice and citizenship, it can help build your cv and getting all these soft skills but people are not realising that.”

Voting for the student elections will end at 6.15pm today, October 15. Votes can be cast online at the Students’ Union website.

Featured image credit: Facebook – Facebook- Hope Murray

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