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Sally Wilson, Bath College’s Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor

 
Bath College will be running brand new First Aid courses dealing specifically with Mental Health, starting in October 2019. These courses will be run by qualified Mental Health First Aid instructors, and accredited by Mental Health First Aid England. Everyone has mental health, and better mental health is better for all of us, this is why MHFA England are dedicated to ensuring there is zero stigma to discussing mental health.

Sally, Care Academy Co-Ordinators at Bath College, is one of our new Mental Health First Aid Instructors.

 

Mental Health is not something we should take lightly, and by having qualified Mental Health First Aiders in places of work or education, we can begin to remove the stigma surrounding discussing Mental Health. It’s just as important as physical health, and should be taken just as seriously. Sally will be specialising in Youth Mental Health First Aid, which makes her courses ideal for those working in Education, or directly with Young People.

 

We had a chat with Sally to find out why she’s decided to become a Youth Mental Health First Aider, and why she thinks Mental Health First Aid is important, scroll down to see her answers!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

As well as being a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, I also work as Bath College Care Academy Co-Ordinator. I work in partnership with health and social care employers and practitioners to develop employability skills for the current and future health and social care workforce.

I have worked for the careers service, as a playworker, a teacher overseas and an Inclusion manager for a secondary school; working with children and young people experiencing crisis.

I have also worked in partnership with many agencies, in a wide range of settings, supporting young people’s personal, social and emotional development.

I am a qualified Youth Worker, Lecturer and Assessor and have taught and assessed youth work study programmes.

I love working with young people, developing projects from scratch, sunshine, travelling and cake!

 

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental health first aid is about having the practical skills and confidence to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues. You will then be confident to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan.

Just as in Physical First Aid, people are trained to use an action plan to support those whose safety is at risk. Mental Health First Aid does the same, but with the person’s mental wellbeing at its centre.

 

Why do you think Mental Health First Aid is important?

Looking after our mental health has so often been overlooked, and stigma and misinformation around mental health conditions has not helped.

Having worked with vulnerable young people in crisis for many years, I have always felt there has been a great need for this. Last year alone, the Samaritans offered tailored support to schools and colleges with 185 suicides or suicide attempts.

It is imperative that more and more of us feel confident enough to approach and offer support to those experiencing crises, as well as to develop further awareness of how we can all look after our mental health.

 

How did you get into Mental Health First Aid Facilitation?

I have always loved facilitating training courses, there is always so much more to learn from everyone who participates.

The instructor training course was a great way to learn more about a range of mental health issues from many practitioners, as well as from young people who were experiencing mental health issues and what they had found helpful. This was an ideal opportunity for me to explore mental health issues in more depth and has inspired me to keep up to date with research around this topic.

As part of our training we are also offered a range of continual professional development opportunities to ensure we remain accredited trainers.

Mental health is of great interest to so many people. It is fascinating. Being an instructor helps me to equip others with the confidence and skills to both support others, and to look after themselves.

 

Who do you think will benefit from Mental Health First Aid?

I would say all of us. It is about helping to build larger communities where people feel able to support young people experiencing mental health issues. It helps us to tackle stigma and open up conversations, to help others to help themselves.

 

What’s different about Youth Mental Health First Aid?

 Youth Mental Health First Aid is based around working with children and young people aged 8-18. Adolescence is a period of huge transition – socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.  It presents so many challenges, even for those for who do not experience trauma. Many recent studies have highlighted how lonely young people can feel.

Within this course you learn about the potential impact of adolescent development on young people’s behaviour as well as the work that targeted services can do to support young people.

 

Finally, what has been your favourite part of leading these courses?

Meeting and working with the group! As with every training course, each of us brings a wealth of experience, from our personal and professional lives. There are always such a range of people with different job roles from parents/carers to youth workers, teaching assistants and advisers. All of whom are keen to learn more about mental health and to support others. It is a difficult but interesting subject, and the sessions are enjoyable and stimulating!

 

 

If you’re interested in enrolling on a Mental Health First Aid course, you can find them by clicking here. Our first Youth course starts on the 30th October, but we have more running throughout the year.

 

 

News

Case Study: Julianne Mackrell – Distance Learning

 

We caught up with Julianne, one of our Distance Learning students, to ask about her Distance Learning journey. Julianne has been working hard, undertaking not one, or two, but five Distance Learning courses! Julianne fancied a change of career and decided to retrain with us, and found that Distance Learning was the best option for her.

 

Distance Learning courses are courses you can undertake in your spare time, they do have a set deadline, but you can do as much or as little as you like per day, and you take charge of your own learning. They’re ideal as CPD, or to aid with a change of career, or even as a stepping stone into a career. The flexibility allows you to fit around your life, you don’t need to commit to coming in to College (although if you would like to come in to talk to the friendly Distance Learning team you can). If you would like to look at our range of Distance Learning courses you can find out more info by clicking here.

 

We asked Julianne a series of questions about how she found the Distance Learning courses, read on to find out what she thought.

 

Can you give us a little background about yourself?

After a 25-year career in estate agency in Bath I decided it was time for change. I found that I was facing the same challenges as that of a young person, not having the right experience in the field I was hoping to move into. So it became obvious that my best option would be to re-train. With this thought in mind I went back to Bath College, where I had completed my A-levels some years prior.

 

Why did you choose Distance Learning?

Distance learning was the perfect for me to study alongside my job in order to get some knowledge and understanding of the new area of employment I wished to move into.

 

Which courses have you completed via Distance Learning?

I have completed courses which would compliment my move into education, relating to autism and education

 

What was the most enjoyable aspect of your courses?

For me the best part about the distance learning courses was the ability to be able to train at your own speed, so if you had spare time you could do lots of work and vice versa. The flexibility of the training has made it less difficult.

 

What has been most valuable to you?

Being able to undertake the courses at my own pace allowed me to transition into my new career and I am delighted that I have started working as a teaching assistant in the last five weeks. So the course has been invaluable in providing me access to a new career path for the next 25 years.

 

What made you choose Bath College?

I was a pupil at Bath College over 25 years ago and have returned on an off for various evening classes. I’ve always found Bath College facilitates courses well and provides a good standard of education. The site in Bath is easy for me to access so I can pop in if I have any queries, but I have found that most of the information is available in the material provided.

 

What do you plan to do with your new found knowledge?

I have actually developed a huge interest in autism and have always had an interest in education, culture and language acquisition. I am considering looking at ways to see if these areas overlap in any way to study an MSc (Master of Science Degree).

 

What piece of advice would you give to students looking to enrol on a Distance Learning course?

If you are self-motivated, determined, and know which direction that you wish to go in then this is the course for you. Before you embark on your course, do speak to some of the helpful staff at Bath College who will be able to help and advise on a course to best suit you. In order to do well at a Distance Learning course, I would say you would need to be self-disciplined, as you are not required to attend classes. Distance learning is very much about wanting to achieve the qualification, and working at your own pace. It does still need to be completed within a maximum timeframe however, so it is important to understand you are committing to completing the task.

 

We’re so thrilled to see Distance Learning having a great impact on someone, and we’re so happy for Julianne finding a new career she is passionate about. Hopefully we’ll hear more from her and her journey!

 

News

Love2Learn Part-time leisure course students to showcase their work in exciting exhibition

Bath College Love2Learn students are holding an exhibition to showcase the work they have created during their part-time leisure courses.

 

College students told us that they wanted fun short courses they can do with friends, courses to learn ‘what they’ve always wanted to do’, as well as courses to help them with life and work. With this in mind, Bath College created a range of Love2Learn courses.
 
The show will exhibit work from a wide range of the disciplines on offer including: Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Glass, Jewellery, Sculpture and many more.
 
The art work will also be available to purchase from the gallery space.
 
The show is running from Wednesday 11th April to Saturday 14th April, 10am-4pm at 44ad Artspace, 4 Abbey St, Bath, and is exhibiting some work from some very talented students.
 
If you would like more information about Love2Learn courses click here.
 
Photograph by Michal Wegrzyn, Ceramic art by Clare Hubble
 

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