G-YOU’s Pledge: We Will Talk About The Black Dog

Being a student is no mean feat. The pressures we feel pushing on us from the outside are great, be they looming deadlines, the pressures to socialise, wondering “what comes next”, dealing with student loans that barely cover rent never-mind cost of living, and of course the stress of figuring out “who you are” – who it is that you are going to likely be the rest of your life.

the black dog

It has been apparent for a few years now that mental health services across the University are struggling, with U.of.G placing thirtieth (out of the thirty universities surveyed) for “student satisfaction” in regards mental health services. Overall the scores ranked Glasgow third bottom of this league table. This survey was produced by The Tab in 2016 and was the first survey of its kind to try and quantify university mental health provision.

Since then we have seen Glasgow University pledge to invest a further £200,000 into mental health provision, which when you think about it is a staggeringly low number – as it would only be the equivalent of hiring on five counsellors, full-time for a year, to help deal with waiting lists that are in the months not the weeks.

During recognised days like World Mental Health Day, across campus is a flurry with events like The G.U.U.’s “Let’s Tacobout it”. The student bodies are generally really good at putting on events during particularly stressful periods, with cross-campus collaboration for things like “Exam Destress Events” and the SRC’s “Mind Your Mate Workshops”. However, it can seem quite vacant throughout the rest of term.

Mental health issues don’t just crop up in times of high stress, they are something that sticks with you through both the good and the bad days, that can appear at literally anytime with or without apparent cause. This is well depicted in the book “I Had A Black Dog”, a phrase coined by Churchill who wrote on having a “Black Dog of Depression” and it is this depiction that has become a great tool for describing something a lot of us find near impossible to describe in our own words. Check out the video for it here! 

I truly believe in the healing power of reading other people’s stories and testimonies regarding mental health. Reading about it helps when it comes to trying to work out what is going on in your own head- in your own feelings. It is what helped me when I was in what I described as a “depressive blackhole” after having a rather rough time in the latter years of secondary school. It definitely doesn’t solve everything – reading alone isn’t a cure; but it can help people find a way out of the depths when they aren’t exactly sure what is happening to them.

Today I am pledging that as long as I am around, the G-YOU will regularly highlight and talk about the issues of mental health; from personal testimonies, to asking what more can be done. I am aware we aren’t the biggest media outlet on campus, but we are here to let students share their opinions and stories, and considering mental health is something that will likely effect everyone here in one way or another we sure as hell shouldn’t shy away from it.

I also do this because “I had a black dog; his name was depression.”

-Owain Campton, Co. Editor-in-Chief

G.U.U. Convener of Libraries


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