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A mentally-healthy college supporting Glasgow students

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SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Glasgow Clyde College launched a Mentally Healthy College Community project earlier this year and in four months over 200 staff have been trained on how to support the mental health of students.

Working across three campuses, the aim is to create a mentally healthy, open and vibrant college community. Research indicates that students may be more likely than other groups to experience mental health problems and that serious mental health problems among students are increasing.

We know that three quarters of young people don’t know what mental health information and support is available to them. By creating a culture in which students can ask for and receive support for their mental health, it is hoped that students will be better prepared for working life.

SAMH is working alongside existing Glasgow Clyde College counselling services, advisory teams and the student association to ensure college staff have the increased capacity to support students.

The two-year pilot project funded by Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation will train all staff on mental health to support 27,000 students.

SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson said:

“We hope that training staff at Glasgow Clyde College will normalise mental health, with staff and students encouraged to have open conversations.

“Going to college brings a number of changes to students' lives and studying can be demanding, so it’s important that staff are equipped with the knowledge to support them with their mental health.

“Glasgow Clyde College is taking proactive steps to create a more open and supportive culture, and should over time see staff more confident to talk to students about their mental health.”

Glasgow Clyde College Assistant Principal of Student Experience David Marshall said:

“Glasgow Clyde College is delighted to be working in partnership with SAMH and Glasgow Clyde College Student Association on the Mentally Healthy College Community project.

“The Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation has shown a vision and commitment in supporting and funding this project which will increase awareness of the importance of positive mental health.

“As a College, we have recognised the increased challenges faced by both students and staff in relation to mental health and wellbeing and we are committed to building the capacity of our staff to support our students.”

Glasgow Clyde College Student President Karolina Gasiorowska said:

“It is important to understand how difficult it can be for students, especially young adults going to college from 16 to 19 years old. They face many pressures from society, their peers and themselves.

“Raising awareness about mental health is very important and I strongly believe that this new project, which is focusing on staff training, is a very good idea.

“A few months ago I attended ASIST Suicide Prevention training. I learned a lot during the training and I now know to encourage people to open up about how they are feeling. Talking can make a huge difference for students dealing with mental health problems.”

Glasgow Clyde College staff member Louise Reilly attended ASIST Suicide Prevention training. She said:

“ASIST Suicide Prevention training improved my skill set and has increased my confidence when talking with students at a time which is particularly difficult for them. As a member of the college safeguarding team I feel I am more effective in my response.”