Ed Pinkney
Ed Pinkney is a public health campaigner and consultant with a special interest in mental health in education. He is currently based at the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, Hong Kong University.

Ed is a graduate of the University of Leeds (Philosophy, 2010) and received a Masters in Public Health from the University of Hong Kong in 2015.

In 2010, he founded Mental Wealth UK (now Student Minds) - a national mental health charity that supports a network of student campaigners. After completing his studies, he spent a year travelling around the UK in a camper van, running mental health events and campaigns at universities and encouraging students to setup ‘mental wealth’ groups. He was director of Mental Wealth UK until 2012, and led NUS's mental health project in Northern Ireland during early 2013. During 2014 he worked for the digital mental health charity Mindfull, and has been based at the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at Hong Kong University since 2015.

Ed comments and campaigns on issues involving young people, education, and wellbeing, and is regularly featured in the media as an authority on student mental health. He received counselling training at the University of Leeds, and studied positive psychology at the University of East London. He is interested in eastern cultures and has travelled through much of Asia. In October 2012 he spent time living with nomads in Tibet, where he had a narrow miss with an angry yak.

Ed can be contacted through his website.

Entries by Ed Pinkney

Safe Spaces Are a Symptom of Student Support Failings

(3) Comments | Posted 2 April 2016 | (00:00)

Debate around safe spaces, trigger warnings and university censorship erupted online during the latter half of 2015. One of the articles that sparked debate was a front page feature in the The Atlantic, 'The Coddling of the American Mind', in which Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt claim that...

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A Response to AC Grayling

(0) Comments | Posted 8 December 2015 | (12:45)

One of the memorable scenes of the Hunger Games trilogy - before its lacklustre final two-parter - sees Finnick facing the sharp end of Katniss' arrow, at which point he reminds the protagonist to "remember who the real enemy is". As academics and students criticise one another over free speech...

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What Happened to Pastoral Care?

(0) Comments | Posted 20 October 2015 | (13:01)

We might be talking more about mental health at university, but there is a related concept, one more rooted within the tradition of higher education and yet crucial to any current discussion about mental health in education, that seems to have faded from view.

In an article...

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Why the New Shadow Minister for Mental Health Can Make or Break Labour's Campaign

(0) Comments | Posted 1 October 2015 | (00:00)

For the first time, the UK will next week mark World Mental Health Day with a Shadow Minister for Mental Health. We can expect Luciana Berger to discuss some obvious challenges: increasing funding for mental health services, getting mental health education into schools, protecting...

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Giving Thanks to Student Support Staff

(0) Comments | Posted 17 July 2015 | (08:54)

It's almost exactly five years since I graduated. When I look back, despite some excellent lectures, the university faces I remember most are not academics, but support staff. I'm sure that for a significant proportion of graduates it's the same. Support staff deserve their dues.

Popular culture would tell...

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Are Universities Healthy?

(0) Comments | Posted 24 June 2015 | (16:43)

A journalist called me during a morning meeting recently to ask if I thought university was "unhealthy". The question caught me off guard. It is not one those of us working in higher education tend to ask.

The existence of universities is such a given, and their place in...

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Mental Health Is Not Just a Medical Issue - It's Social and Political

(0) Comments | Posted 20 June 2015 | (10:11)

Equating mental health issues with physical illness is fashionable amongst health commentators. From analogies associating mental health issues with a broken leg or cancer, to calls for parity of esteem, the inference is that mental illness and physical illness ought to be considered in the same...

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Why 'Parity of Esteem' Between Physical and Mental Health Is Not Enough

(0) Comments | Posted 24 November 2014 | (23:00)

Mental health campaigners have been given cause for optimism recently thanks to increasing political discussion about underfunded mental health services. Whilst we can be thankful that such conversations are being entertained, there is cause to be wary of the rhetoric if we consider real implications to

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The Dirty Secret of the Happiness Movement: A Focus on Raising Average Happiness May Be Costing Lives

(1) Comments | Posted 15 June 2014 | (16:29)


(The King of Bhutan; image by Gelay Yamtsho.) Advocates of Gross National Happiness pride themselves on taking a moral high ground, but the rhetoric hides a darker side.

As a student of positive psychology, often known...

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How Propagandists Manipulate the Facts to Sell the University Dream

(0) Comments | Posted 15 January 2014 | (11:39)

It was the blog's lackadaisical attitude towards student wellbeing that got to me. The way it claims that higher education has "been shown" to benefit the 'health and well-being' of students, without providing a shred of evidence (and in the face of this, this,...

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Resilient Youth: Using Psychology to Prevent a Lost Generation

(10) Comments | Posted 5 June 2013 | (00:00)

Switching on the news last night, I heard a young graduate telling a reporter, "I've done everything that society told me to do, and I'm still not finding employment." As his words trailed off, the despair in his voice seemed to capture a generation that's feeling let down and unsure...

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How We Can All Make A Difference On University Mental Health & Wellbeing Day

(0) Comments | Posted 18 February 2013 | (21:32)

It seems like almost every day is an awareness day for something or other. There are a handful of awareness days, weeks, and months that get global attention and raise funds for vital causes. But then there are more obscure awareness days, not necessarily any less vital, perhaps, yet not...

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Beyond Them and Us: Hobbits, Middle Earth, and the Joined-Up Approach

(0) Comments | Posted 23 December 2012 | (16:28)

I've just got back from seeing The Hobbit. It's got a different feel to Lord of the Rings, more light and playful, but there's a familiar subtext. In the Lord of the Rings, the story begins with rivalries between the Elves, Men, and Dwarves. As events unfold, and...

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If Universities Don't Respond To Student Suicide Figures, Student Campaigners Will

(4) Comments | Posted 12 December 2012 | (14:22)

There is an ancient proverb about some blind monks that stumble into a very large elephant. Standing at different sides of the beast, each of the men describes what's in front of him: each of their descriptions are different. Unfortunately, failing to realise that they could have different and yet...

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