Meet the inspiring student leading mental health campaign at University of Chichester

Third-year student Edward Hounsell, 23,is studying PE and Sports Coaching student, but, on the side, he is aMovember ambassador.
Third-year student Edward Hounsell, 23,is studying PE and Sports Coaching student, but, on the side, he is aMovember ambassador.

Having battled mental health issues after going through bereavement at a young age, a Chichester university student is embarking on a campaign to help other men in a similar position.

Third-year student Edward Hounsell, 23, is studying PE and Sports Coaching student, but, on the side, he is a Movember ambassador.

Edward (right) saidopenly discussing his battle with mental health has been a 'huge weight off my shoulders'.

Edward (right) saidopenly discussing his battle with mental health has been a 'huge weight off my shoulders'.

A spokesman for the university said: "Eddie’s an advocate of speaking out about mental health in men, having himself experience mental health issues since a child when he sadly lost his father.

"This is quite a unique position, and he’s certainly one of the few male students at Chichester willing to speak openly about the impact of mental health in male students."

Edward, who lived in New Zealand until he was 18, said he initially moved to the UK on a gap year.

He said: "I ended up staying here and thought it was time to go to university.

In a bid to raise 5,000 this month. themental health advocatehas organised a series of events, as he continues to turn his mental health battle into something positive.

In a bid to raise 5,000 this month. themental health advocatehas organised a series of events, as he continues to turn his mental health battle into something positive.

"Movember is really big in New Zealand but when I started there was no campaign movement. I was asked to be an ambassador of Movember and I wanted to get the uni involved as much as I could.

"It started as being rugby orientated. I raised £300 from rugby classes. I wanted to make it bigger and involve the football and cricket clubs, to raise the profile. I have got women's classes involved too."

"We now have 15 societies involved and I have been keen to get the staff involved."

Edward said openly discussing his battle with mental health has been a 'huge weight off my shoulders'.

He added: "A lot of mental health cases I have found are normally triggered from childhood dilemma or incident. For me it was my father dying at such a young age and not really having the support from that and it has a massive domino effect on the rest of your life.

"I was scared to talk about it at first but I started a video blog about my own issues.

"I shared it to my Instagram and that's what started things off and I couldn't believe the reaction to it.

"I got hundreds of messages thanking me for sharing my story, sharing their stories and asking for advice. etc. I've managed to help myself and other people."

In a bid to raise £5,000 this month. the mental health advocate has organised a series of events, as he continues to turn his mental health battle into something positive.

On the fundraising page, Edward has raised £2,279 so far and, having had an extra £1,000 in donations elsewhere, he is confident of hitting the target before the end of the month.

Edward said: "We held a big-shave at the Little London barbers. We did free shaves and cuts down all day [on Monday, November 4].

"I have built up a relationship with my barber Jack and he wanted to help my campaign. This month, he is giving all tips to Movember."

The university spokesman said this event was 'only part of the story'.

He added: "There are other events planned for this month with students, both male and female. This includes a big swim [on Sunday at 10.30am] with nearly 100 students at Bognor Regis beach, in which they’ll dip into the sea every 60 seconds to reflect the statistic showing that one man in the UK dies every 60 seconds from suicide."

Edward praised the university for the 'huge amount of support offered'.

"Whether it be by the university in terms of student support offices, e.g student welfare, sexual health, finance advisers, counsellors, or in most societies you will find that they are all very tight knit," he said.

"For me, the rugby club is like having another family who just has your full support 24/7. Lecturers for my course have been so helpful and their office doors are always open."