AT THE recent launch event, SANE visited the College to meet students and staff.

The partnership will continue until the end of the academic year in July 2014. During this time, College has planned several fundraising and awareness raising initiatives; including a masquerade ball and a 24-hour run.

This relationship will help expand the students’ understanding of mental health, while raising funds to support those affected by mental illness. Paul Flitcroft, SANE’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing said: “We are extremely grateful to Cheltenham College for their support, and for recognising the importance of mental health. Through this collaboration, we’ll inspire young people to talk openly about mental health, and share the message of help and hope with friends and family.

All the money raised will be dedicated to SANE’s free, confidential emotional support services; this is the heart of what we do.” The Black Dog Campaign arrived at Cheltenham College in the form of ‘Elvis’, a sculpture of a black dog with a jacket designed by musician and SANE supporter Adam Ant.

The Black Dog has been used as metaphor for depression since Classical times and was used by Sir Winston Churchill to describe his darker moods. SANE has brought the anti-stigma campaign to life using sculptures of Black Dogs, which are placed at prominent locations across the UK. Cheltenham College will host Elvis to provide a focus to their fundraising and mental health education activities.

The loan of Elvis is made possible by generous support from the John Lewis Partnership, one of SANE’s corporate donors. SANE is working with John Lewis to reach more people and to increase the understanding of mental illness.

John Lewis makes this possible by raising funds to cover the costs of transporting Black Dog statues to schools, universities, community centres and public spaces. Elvis will be staying at Cheltenham College to help combat the stigma surrounding mental illness and to encourage people to ask for help from SANE’s free, confidential emotional support services, rather than suffering in silence.

In response to the Charity of the Year programme for SANE, Michael Todd from Cheltenham College said: “We are delighted to be partnering with SANE this year as the official College charity.

Mental illness and in particular depression impacts many teenagers significantly and they often do not know how to handle the situation.

By building awareness we hope that our pupils at College will be more comfortable seeking help if they suspect they may be suffering any form of mental illness or be able to guide their friends to find help. We hope that the College community will get behind the student fund raising initiatives as they have done in the past.”