Stratford-upon-Avon College showed their support for Mental Health Awareness week by inviting in local charities for students to speak to and learn how they can find support.
Charities Lifespace Trust, Escape Arts and the Samaritans all were present to engage with students and give them information on how they can access help and support, as well as provide them with information on how to support themselves and their peers.
Blair Sweeney, the College’s Mental Health Support Worker, detailed why the College organised the event: “It is part of Mental Health Awareness Week. We want to increase the students’ knowledge of local services and we know the need for support has increased, especially after Covid.”
The College was officially named as a ‘Commended College’ in the AoC Beacon Awards this year for The NOCN Group Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing and the College is focused on providing the highest level of support for its students.
Rachel Key, CEO of Lifespace Trust, detailed why she attended the event: “Lifespace supports young people across Warwickshire. We want to let them know that there are lots of things they can do to improve how they feel; we can advise them on skills and techniques they can use to try and make the hard times not so hard.”
She continues: “Also we are a youth led organisation and we know the best people to work with are young people as they are the most effective to create relatable content for their peers so we want to let students know of the volunteering opportunities we have so they can engage further with us.”
George Bryan from the Samaritans is a Listener – a role which includes manning the phone lines and providing outreach talks. He described what the students can get from the service: “We are here to make students aware of the Samaritans so they know they have someone they can talk to, always. We are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Now is an especially important time with exams coming up and students can feel under pressure.”
The students could speak to all the charities and take part in activities as well as take information away with them
Sarah Cowley-Catchpole, a Youth Work Co-ordinator at Escape Arts said: “It is important that students at this age know there are still services available for them. Just because you have left school it does not mean you are on your own, you are still supported.”
Students engaged with the charities and found the information offered extremely useful. Chelsea Jenkins, 17, from the Performing Arts Level 2 course commented: “It was really helpful learning about all the different organisations available. I had not heard of some of them, so it is great to learn about them.”