A A A

News

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

Bath College makes commitment to support students and staff with their mental health and wellbeing

 

Bath College has reaffirmed their commitment to staff and students by signing up to a brand new national mental health and wellbeing charter – created by the Association of Colleges in conjunction with mental health experts.
 
The 11-point document includes commitments to:
• Promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma
• Providing appropriate mental health training for staff
• Providing targeted individual mental health support where appropriate
 
Colleges across England teach and train 2.2 million people each year – including 685,000 young people. Every year, 1 in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and 1 in 5 young people aged 16-24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression at any one time. Add to these facts, 75% of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24 means Bath College plays a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its 8,000 students and 450 staff.
 
Bath College staff at their mental health training
Laurel Penrose, Principal & CEO of Bath College, said: “Mental Health is something we take very seriously at Bath College. We ensure that we have designated youth mental health first aiders who are trained by Mental Health First Aid England. We have now equipped a wide range of departments with the tools to support our students and staff when required.”
 
Richard Caulfield, Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Bath College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. This includes providing support for both staff and student wellbeing at the right time, in the right place. This charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”
 
Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, said: “We passionately believe that mental health support of the highest standard should be available to all young people and college staff. The launch of the Charter further enhances the Association of College’s long-standing commitment to this.
 
“As a charity, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust is delighted to be working in collaboration with AoC and fully endorses the principles and intentions of this important new Charter.”
 

Panorama of SVC Wellbeing Festival

Awareness, Events, News

Bath College Summer Wellbeing Festival has students basking in the sunshine in Mental Health Awareness Week

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Bath College put on a Summer Wellbeing Festival. The festival, which ran across both campuses, had students leaving their exam stress aside and enjoying playing in the sunshine for a couple of hours.

 

With a focus on positive mental health, exhibitors from local businesses and health and wellbeing organisations held stalls at the festival, which enabled students to be signposted to the right people should they have any concerns.
Climbing Wall 
Exhibitors included Project 28, Curo, Vault 29, Tamara Pitelen Yoga, Comptoir Libanais, the Young Carers’ Centre and Off the Record.
 
Day one of the festival at the Somer Valley Campus saw students braving a giant climbing wall, letting loose on a bouncy castle and eating ice-cream in the 22-degree May sunshine.
 
Day two of the festival at the City Centre Campus had students participating in group yoga and Eft tapping to relieve stress, while others bashed each other around on the giant inflatable ‘Extreme Demolition’.
 
Hannah Backstrom from Vault 29, a company who sell comic books with a focus on mental wellbeing, said of the festival: “It’s so good to see the College taking ownership of their students’ mental health.
 
“With events like this, they now know where to go.”
 
In between visiting the stalls, students took part in karate sessions, learned how to box and rowed as far as they could on a rowing machine in a minute. There were also students from the Hair and Beauty Academy giving hand massages to help festival goers relax.
 
 
Positivity stones decorated by students with positive messagesThe stonemasonry department provided the festival with stones that were decorated to build a miniature wellbeing wall, on each stone an individual representation of positivity.
Students were in high spirits as they played Frisbee, football and ping pong. Many of the tutors also decided to get involved, with a surprising amount making a bee-line for the bouncy castle.
 
People were stumbling around the courtyard as they had lost all sense of direction when they got to try out beer goggles from the staff at Project 28, who were there to raise awareness for their services for young people, which help people with problems surrounding substance abuse. Jahnene Green from the project was very impressed with the festival, remarking: “Great food, great staff, great students!”
 
Harriet Rose, an LGBT+ development worker from Off the Record found that her stall was busy: “We’ve had so many young people come and have a chat.
 
“We’ve had some great discussions with allies, not just those who identify. Off the Record’s slogan is ‘you talk, we listen’ and that sums up today really.”
 
Bath College Welfare and Participation team did an excellent job of creating a safe environment where staff and students could have a break from the stresses of their day-to-day routine and connect with their inner child, everyone leaving in a more positive headspace than when they arrived.
 
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week and The Mental Health Foundation, click here.
 

Your Wishlist