Campus - 13.12.2023 - 08:44 

HSG students focus on mental health

Students are normally under great pressure to deliver and perform. HSG students have therefore launched a campaign to improve mental health on campus: they are focusing on short messages designed to bring more mindfulness into everyday life.

73 percent of all students in Switzerland have a job alongside their studies. "The combination of full-time study and work can lead to time and performance pressure. What's more, degree programmes always have peak phases with lots of deadlines and exams," says HSG Master's student Sophie Schneider. She and her fellow students have therefore launched an information campaign on mental health. Starting in November, they have posted simple tips on Instagram and on bulletin boards on campus to help people take care of their mental health. 

 The group calls their project "MyMindMatters". It was developed as part of the "Grand Challenge: Sustainable Startups" course. In this course, students worked in groups to design entrepreneurial solutions to social and environmental issues. The aim is for the project to have a local impact. In 2022, for example, HSG students playfuly launched an energy-saving campaign in the region.

Students asked about challenges

The "MyMindMatters" founders first anonymously asked around 60 HSG students what their biggest chal-lenges were. 73 percent cited their stressful everyday lives and 48 percent their mental health. In addition, "MyMindMatters" conducted an interview with experts from the HSG's Psychological Counselling Services, who largely confirmed the findings from the survey. "There is a reluctance to seek professional help from the counselling centre or other agencies," says group member Leonie Bähre. "That's why we focused on low-threshold tips that you can see on Instagram or on campus that can be implemented quickly," says her col-league Sabrina Kuhn. 

For example, tips on the Instagram profile @MyMindMatters recommend relaxing the various muscles in your body one after the other, consciously noticing things and natural sounds in your surround-ings, recalling positive experiences from the current day or looking into the distance for a few minutes. "The tips may seem trivial at first glance, but they can help you to take small mental breaks in your everyday life," says Leonie Bähre. 

"Managers need to focus on mental health"

In December, "MyMindMatters" also invites students to go on one-hour walks around campus - for example in the neighbouring forest. "Nature is just around the corner here, which is ideal for short breaks from university life," says Sophie Schneider. The group also cooperates with companies in St.Gallen and offers discounts for things that promote mental health, such as yoga classes. "MyMindMatters" will continue its mindfulness advice up to and including January - at a time when HSG students are very busy with studying and exams.

However, the four Master's students also emphasise that knowledge about the importance of mental health is central for future managers. "Managers today need to understand how important their own and their team's health is," says team member David Knöpfli. This is also increasingly reflected in the HSG curriculum: in Knöpfli's degree course, the Master in General Management, a course on self-reflection and well-being is now compulsory. 

Various HSG initiatives on mental health

The initiative of the four students is part of various lectures/seminars and campaigns at HSG that focus on mental health: In November, for example, HSG Psychological Counselling Services organised a series of lec-tures on various aspects of mental health for academics together with HSG's non-tenured academic faculty. In autumn, HSG management also carried out an awareness-raising campaign to make HSG members aware of the various counselling services. These help with both personal and  workplace questions and problems of various kinds.

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