The University of Queensland has smashed the Guinness World Record for the Largest Mindfulness Lesson (Single Venue).
The successful attempt saw 1417 staff, students, alumni and community flock to the Great Court to break the previous record of 569 participants.
The event promoted participation, inclusiveness and a sense of connection and belonging at UQ as part of the University’s wider Mental Health Strategy (2018-2020).
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Joanne Wright, and UQ Union Vice-President Isabella Scattini Student Rights accepted the award on behalf of the University.
Ms Scattini said she was overwhelmed by the support of the University community and was pleased UQ was making mental health a focus of its approach to student affairs.
“UQ students are facing growing pressures while studying with the rising cost of living, the lack of part-time employment opportunities, an increasingly tense social and political environment, and the hardship of being away from home.” Ms Scattini said.
“Mental illness, particularly among students, is undeniably on the rise, and the turn out we had today proves this is an issue close to a lot of people’s hearts.”
Professor Wright said the event was more than a record attempt.
“The event gave us an opportunity to pull together as a community to help break down the stigma around mental illness, and encourage healthy discussions that can help us to proactively engage in behaviours promoting good mental health,” Professor Wright said.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to get involved with a well-known institution such as Guinness World Records, while supporting mental health awareness.”
The lesson was led by Dr Russ Harris who teaches mindfulness techniques commonly used to manage issues such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Dr Harris is known for his three-pronged approach to mindfulness: simplicity, clarity and having fun.
He said he was privileged to be asked to lead the lesson.
“Mental health in tertiary students is such a talking point amongst mental health experts at the moment and to be able to teach what I love knowing the impact mindfulness can have, is a huge honour,” he said.
Allianz, Headspace Taringa, UQ Sport, UQ Union, UQ Wellness and the UQ Mental Health Champions team were all present on the day to ensure support services were available for those who needed it.
To celebrate the win the University hosted a free lunch and a number of students took part in a mini colour run.