Vital training to create ‘mental health ambassadors’ at Suffolk college
PUBLISHED: 13:40 29 October 2020
Health and social care students at a Suffolk college are getting vital mental health first aid training as part of a course funded by local councillors.
Student Life runs courses across East Anglia with institutions such as the University of Suffolk, and is now collaborating with One Sixth Form College.
Richard Stewart, chief executive of Student Life, is passionate about equipping young people with the skills to deal with mental health issues in both their own lives and their peers’.
“We have worked with One for two years delivering workshops, but the focus now is creating ambassadors who can be our eyes and ears on the ground spotting mental health issues among their peers and being able to help them,” he explained.
“It’s really important to reduce the stigma and talk about our mental health, especially now with the pandemic seeing a rise in anxiety and isolation among young people.
“There’s been a long period of time where the support of school and the structure it brings hasn’t been there, so we have tailored our course to focus more on anxiety.”
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Over 70 Year 13 students will be taking part in the workshop over two days to obtain a mental health first aid certificate in early November.
Mr Stewart hopes it will become integrated into the school curriculum in the future and has ambitions to eventually start work with even younger children at a primary school level.
Suffolk County councillors Christopher Hudson and James Finch secured £1,000 in funding to pay for the training.
Mr Hudson said: “I am very pleased to be supporting this training and it is money well spent on something which we may have underestimated.
“The stress covid is having on young people is huge and seems to be affecting people aged 15 to 25 especially.
“We all need to take account of our mental health and I hope this course will have positive outcomes.”
Emma Wrigley, teach of health and social care at One, said the course will be an opportunity to become more alert and aware of mental health symptoms in themselves and others.
She added: “Overall this link up is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved to learn new skills.”
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