College students encouraged to consider their mental wellbeing

College students encouraged to consider their mental wellbeing

10 October 2018

SOUTH Eastern Regional College students are being encouraged to look after their mental health and that of their friends.

Today is World Mental Health Day and the College is encouraging students to get involved in the ‘put it in your phone’ initiative which encourages them to take five minutes during class to save the contact telephone numbers of organisations which can provide confidential advice, counselling and support services 24/7, including Inspire Students, Lifeline and Samaritans.

Students will also be shown a one minute YouTube clip which promotes the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’ initiative run by health trusts in Northern Ireland aimed at encouraging people to take five simple steps to improve their own mental health and wellbeing and enjoyment of life. 

The College’s World Mental Health Day initiative is just one of a whole range of activities it is engaged in to help young people to understand and look after their own mental health.

In conjunction with the South Eastern Trust, the college is running a coffee and connect event at each of its campuses today to enable staff and students to talk to professionals about mental health issues and wellbeing, in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

This year, the College is also building on its student mentoring programme which has been running over recent years by recruiting and training student mentors who provide a “listening ear” and signposting service for their peers. 

College staff say not only is this service invaluable for students who are perhaps shy about discussing their worries, but allows those who have volunteered to develop their listening skills. 

To demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to looking after the emotional and physical wellbeing of students, the college has signed up to the Mental Health Charter which formalises its commitment to helping employees and students get through difficulties at work and study caused by mental illness.

To date, nine mental health champions have been trained across all campuses to promote the difficulties around mental health issues as well as showing students how to cope with the problems associated to it and what help and support is available. 

This work is further supported through the provision of mental health awareness training seminars which are being delivered to classes across all of the College’s campuses in partnership with Action Mental Health.

Paul Walsh, the college’s Downpatrick campus manager, says mental ill health issues affect everyone at some time in their lives, with young adults being particularly at risk from such issues. He added: “The ‘put it in your phone day’  is an effective way to show students how to cope correctly when presented with problems of mental ill health and show them how to quickly get support when they need it.”