The up-and-coming Mental Health Society could be what you’ve needed all along – meet the president.
It’s been a tough road during this pandemic. We’ve come to see a ‘new normal’ in the way we live our lives, and it’s not how we ever would have imagined. In light of this, the university and Students’ Union have implemented wonderful mental health services along with new events. However, Jefferey Koh, City student, believes there’s one extra step to be taken.
In November, Koh co-founded and became president of the Mental Health Society which “should be falling nicely in place by at least next month” he tells me. He wanted to create the society to bridge students to the facilities already offered by City as well as campaign and advertise for them. He “also wanted to create a safe space for students to come to and be open about themselves with their struggles” as he believes that the importance of mental health is not being adequately spoken about within the university. The subject of the society touches Koh personally as he’s had his own “struggles in the past with battling [his] inner demons” which was an extra inspiration for him to get this project going.
After speaking with the Students’ Union about how the society will function, they “came to the consensus that the job of helping people in a rough place is best left to the brilliant professionals and the services that they provide at the university” such as information on how to cope with lockdown and councillors to talk to. Therefore, the society’s added value is to “direct them to the necessary help”. Koh says that this way will make “the process of identifying and implementing help a lot easier and harmonious”.
Koh speaks to me about wanting the messages to not only reach the students but the staff too – messages which are right and representative of the university as a whole.
After coming up with the idea of the society, two of Koh’s friends, Mohammed Noor and Ayesha Hossain who are also second year students, “encouraged” him to pursue his goals and so he decided to name them co-founders – “they added just as much value as I did” Koh says. Noor is studying international politics and sociology and is the Mental Health Society’s finance officer while Hossain is studying economics with accounting and is the society’s communications officer.
Jefferey Koh has always been a “live life a quarter mile at a time” kind of guy, which meant he never really thought about his future or any aspirations. It took him a lot of spiralling to get focused and not give up on the life trusts was given to him. In his spare time, he likes to go to the gym, play snooker, eat a lot and explore the city of London. The restrictions at this time have of course meant that he hasn’t been able to travel but he looks forward to fulfilling this passion of his.
He began his university life at a different London university but tells me that, at this point, he was at his “lowest of lows” and needed things to change – a reset. Thus, leading him to start his City journey as a student of international politics and sociology. He has been in a much better place since joining and says that “as humans, we can only learn from our experiences and be better people as a result”.