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Helping Hands award

St Andrews student Miss Caitlin Leach has been awarded the ‘Helping Hands Award for Excellence in Supporting Students’. The Proctor, Professor Lorna Milne, presented the award at a ceremony today (Thursday December 8, 2011).

Caitlin, a fourth year Philosophy student, was the main inspiration and powerhouse behind the first Mental Wealth (Mental Health promotion) Day in the University. She successfully worked with students and staff to create a clear strategy for reducing the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness: proving that by positively investing in our own mental wellbeing and talking more about the issues we can improve the quality of lives and reduce stigma and discrimination.

Ruth Unsworth, Counsellor for Student Services commented:

“Caitlin has made a very significant contribution to directly assisting students. As Coordinator of the first mental wealth day, Caitlin has made a unique contribution to Mental Health promotion and awareness which stands the test of time, given that it is running again this year”

The panel received eleven nominations for the Award, all of which provided unique and powerful illustrations of care and support within the University community.

Some nominations were very personal expressions of gratitude to people who had helped others overcome difficulties and opened the way for students to participate in and enjoy University life.   Other nominations were made in recognition of individuals’ work in a wider sense; of people giving time selflessly and making the effort to address the needs of others, or raising awareness of the problems some students face.

Each nomination told a story about the ways individuals in the University care for and support others. The Award has helped in gaining a valuable perspective of the University community, the way we help one another and the importance of this help to the student experience. Every nomination told a story of people quietly helping others. The development of the Award has given an insight into this often hidden factor in our community.

The Frotscher Award for Helping Hands was first established in 2010 by the family of two St Andrews students who were grateful for the support their son received at the time of personal difficulty while studying here.

The medal has been designed the family. The hands are a common sign throughout the world of help and support. The red and white ribbon represents the colours of the family’s home town in Germany.

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