May 12, 2021
Students create online event for ‘Move for the Mind’ campaign
Public relations campaign highlights positive impact of physical activity on mental health
University of Wollongong (UOW) Public Relations students are partnering with three local community organisations in the mental health space - Headspace Wollongong, Mental Health Movement and Smash the Silence - to bring awareness to the positive impact physical activity can have on mental health.
The students in the subject MARK321: Creative Public Relations Campaign are acting as a public relations agency for the ‘Move for the Mind' campaign as part of their active learning this semester. The online event ‘Move for the Mind' will take place via Facebook live on Wednesday 12 May, 2pm - 3pm.
Public Relations Lecturer Dr Sue Slowikowski says organising the event exposes the third-year students to real-world experience working in groups, interviewing people, preparing media releases, writing blogs, and social media posts.
“Students get first-hand experience of strategic communications planning and learn to look for innovative solutions to overcome a myriad of unforeseen problems,” Dr Slowikowski said.
“The biggest lessons will be from overcoming hurdles. I plan this subject so thoroughly, and we even plan for risk. But curve-balls never fail to surprise.”
Organising the campaign between 60 students, some based overseas, has been challenging but the students have persevered through the challenges of working virtually, time zone differences, COVID restriction changes and adapting to change on the go.
An online event was born out of these challenges.
“COVID was the primary challenge, given the nature that restrictions are implemented and eased. We needed to create an event that would not be adverse to potentially any restrictions,” Public Relations student Luke Mahoney said.
The campaign provides students with experience to help make them job-ready and employable when they graduate.
“Working with real organisations developed our confidence and understanding of real-world PR. Specifically, writing media releases, conducting interviews, writing blogs and event planning,” Public Relations students Laura Young said.
“Learning to communicate across teams is a valuable skill as it is common in the workplace,” fellow student Kristie Beedie said.
The students created the ‘Move for the Mind' campaign to educate people about the importance of moving our bodies and caring for our minds, highlighting how exercise has proven to reduce stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety and help with recovery from mental health issues.
The digital event itself has real-life stories about how effective any exercise is in combating negative mental health. Along with the guest speakers, the event will include interactive activities and a live Q & A with the partnering organisations.
Attendees of the online event will hear from a range of speakers including: keynote speaker Phil Kearns (former Wallabies Captain), Ella Gould and Ella Barker (Sharks Junior League), Michael Maroney (former Australian triathlete), James Graham (former NRL Dragons player), Ben Carbis (Athlete Wellbeing Lead, NSW Institute of Sport).
The event will be digitally live-streamed on the Mental MOVEment Facebook event page from 2pm - 3pm on Wednesday 12 May. People are also encouraged to interact prior the event via prepared content. Visit sueslow.sparkup.live and enter code: XTYQD to complete a quick survey.