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User groups: Disabled people, People who self-harm, People with learning difficulties or disabilities, Users of alcohol and substance services

Region: London

The King’s College London (KCL) Neurodiversity and Mental Health Society provides a space for students with lived experience of neurodivergent and/or mental health conditions at KCL. The society launched in November 2021, and since then has engaged over 200 members and formed a community on Discord, where we chat, share tips, and get to know other students who may have similar daily experiences to our own. The society is run by a committee, all of whom have lived experiences of their own. The committee is diverse, including postgraduate research students, parents, carers, mature students, distance learners, international students, forced migrants, and various other groups often less represented by student societies. Through the collective effort of several different committee members, we have been able to accomplish some gratifying work. We successfully applied for a grant for ‘equipment’ that could help make being on campus less stressful (e.g. fidget cubes, dyslexia reading aids, noise-canceling headphones, badges requesting not to be touched, etc) which will be being placed in 6 locations across the KCL campuses. We have launched events, ranging from Careers events to more casual coffee meets. We have also delivered training on understanding neurodivergence to different departments and staff teams at KCL. Over the summer, we ran a campaign to improve the representation of disabled students at universities across the UK for young people going to university for the first time. Our plans for next year include hosting more events for our Society members, campaigning for the rights of students who interrupt their studies as well as actioning a permanent celebration display for neurodivergent students, staff, and alumni on one of the campuses. We hope in the future to support students like ourselves at other universities to create similar societies, so that we may have a network across Higher Educational Institutions and so that students across the UK can go to university knowing there is a place where they can always be themselves.