In 2018 the founder of United Minds Aaron Ellis-Montoya was going through his own mental health battle. He had been suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks with suicidal thoughts for the best part of 10 years. It wasn’t until starting a full career change and attending university at the age of 25 he realised that he needed help. With the assistance of the on-site GP office, Aaron was able to start the real battle and fight with the assistance of some medication. At the start of United Minds, Aaron had been able to do a lot more than he ever thought was possible and decided he did not want anyone else to go through the same struggles he did, and if someone was, to not feel alone. United Minds was then created.
Currently a very small team, United Minds is ready to get awareness and support across the community. In 2018 Aaron started his very own ‘Peer to Ear’ sessions within the Law School at the University of Hertfordshire with the aim of being the first point of contact for his fellow students who were going through their own struggles.
“I want to become the ear and shoulder for those suffering from mental health of all ages through creating a safe space.”
- Aaron Ellis-Montoya
Our plans and dreams are extensive but know that we have to start off small. We hope to be able to bring a change to how the academic community deals with mental health and well-being awareness and with giving the right kind of support. Vitally as important, United Minds wish to get all staff trained on mental health awareness, in order to help spot the signs a student may be suffering from some variation of mental health. United Minds also wish to bring a community together to help support one another, with individuals who are going through the same struggles to help each other and to stop the feeling of being alone.
The reason United Minds was founded was primarily to boost awareness and support across the United Kingdom. By doing this, United Minds plan on creating a standardised policy scheme for all schools and universities within the United Kingdom. It is a big task and we are very aware it will not be an overnight solution, but with every passing day more and more students suffer from this battle and some, unfortunately, take their own lives as they feel alone and can no longer cope.
We want to change this!