During mid-September the Black Dog statue, ‘Horace’, will sit outside the main entrance of the LMB. Horace is the symbol of the charity SANE’s campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage people to seek help early.
The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from ancient times to the present day, notably including Sir Winston Churchill using the phrase to label his dark times. SANE hopes that “the physical presence of a Black Dog will help people to define their experience of the ‘invisible’ condition, which characterises mental illness, as well as promoting more open discussion, understanding and acceptance”.
Horace’s time at the LMB is part of a ‘tour’ around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to raise awareness of mental health, to break down stigma, and to encourage people to talk more openly about depression and other mental illness.
The presence of Horace at the LMB highlights the LMB’s commitment to supporting the mental well-being of its staff and students. The LMB has trained Mental Health First Aiders who are available to provide support and sign post people towards appropriate professional help where required. In addition, the MRC Wellbeing Programme (now the UKRI Wellbeing Policy) aims to support the physical, mental, financial and environmental well-being of staff at the MRC.