Prevention, health and happiness on World Mental Health day and beyond
By Kirsten Amis, Mental Health Lead at Glasgow Clyde College
Mental health has been in the spotlight for some time now, particularly during and following the pandemic. How we think, feel, and act has a significant impact on how well we study and work. Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being also determine how we handle stress, manage relationships and make healthy choices.
At Glasgow Clyde college, the well-being of the whole college community matters and we pride ourselves on being a mentally healthy place of learning. We want our students and staff to enjoy their time here whilst being able to overcome challenges to reach their potential without becoming stressed.
Our focus is on prevention, health and happiness. A key part of this is to value the physical, cognitive and mental health of students and staff equally. To do this, we concentrate on awareness, prevention and support of mental health issues and frequent awareness days which focus on a range of mental health conditions feature throughout our year.
One of our most immediate services within the college is our Time to Talk helpline. Students and staff are encouraged to phone Time to Talk if they would like to speak with a college counsellor, and don’t need an appointment. It is used as a telephone drop-in service which is proving to be very popular, with some calls lasting up to two hours. Related to that, our comprehensive, in-house counselling service offers ongoing support to students during their time at college as well as all staff. One-to-one appointments are available either on campus or by video call which we have continued post-pandemic.
For students attending courses in the Supported Education department, we have a bespoke Listening Service where skilled listeners offer one-to-one sessions to support students. This allows students to form supportive relationships with our counselling team who are trained in advanced communication skills.
We also have mental health first aiders based throughout the college who provide early intervention and access to support should anyone be experiencing a mental health difficulty. They work closely with the Safeguarding team to ensure safety and care for individuals. For a more holistic approach, our Health and Wellbeing Officer and Student Association are always actively developing initiatives to improve the overall health of the college.
Relationships with local specialist agencies is also a key aspect of our mental health care. Our partnership with the Emily Test charity has led to a greater awareness of gender-based violence and we are proud to be the pilot college for the GBV Charter. In addition, we are also in partnership with Action for Children ensuring care-experienced learners receive additional support via Action for Children's STAY service within the college.
Of course, we are always looking to the future, including the development of support we can offer. We’re working to set up a collaborative and reflexive platform to allow us to learn about experiences within the college and to ensure our support is appropriate for any issues affecting students and staff.
Mental health impacts everyone, and it’s something we all need to look after. We’re proud to be able to support our staff and students, and be a source of help for those who need it.
To learn more about the mental health initiatives at Glasgow Clyde College, please visit https://www.glasgowclyde.ac.uk/study-at-glasgow-clyde/student-counselling