I am backing the Derbyshire Times’ ‘You are not alone’ campaign launched last week because I think mental health is everybody’s business. There has been a spate of stories hitting the headlines recently about the number of people suffering with mental health difficulties. It seems that the new statistics are finally grabbing the attention of the world and highlighting how broken the systems we have for caring for people with mental health illnesses are. You can debate why the increase is happening until you’re blue in the face, but unless we change how we as a society approach mental wellbeing nothing will change and avoidable tragedies are sure to continue. Our own college statistics mirror the national picture. We know we are an important link when it comes to caring for students’ mental wellbeing and identifying those who may need help and support. We take that responsibility very seriously and make sure the ‘You are not alone’ message is loud and clear.
Tutors and support staff do a lot to make sure we encourage openness about mental health and wellbeing. We also employ progress coaches to support students who need help with things like anxiety and stress.
As a college we are also training the next generation of health and social care professionals who could be the ones at the forefront of mental health care. We hope that the experiences we are giving them working with health professionals are equipping them with the right skills to make a difference.
By making mental health our business and coming together we can support those who need it and find ways to improve our own mental wellbeing too – it could save a life.