York College

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8th March 2019

York College is working with a group of students training to be Mental Health Champions, providing peer support to improve mental health and wellbeing amongst their peers.

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Working with City of York Council School’s Wellbeing Service, CAMHs and the Adolescent Mental Health Service, a peer support programme for schools and colleges known as ‘Mental Health Champions’ enables the training of young people to provide positive support to their fellow students.

The Mental Health Champions are learning ways to improve wellbeing and develop tools to sustain healthy minds whilst attending three days of training at the College, provided by Lou Baker and Rebecca Steele from York College Student Services. The Champions are gaining knowledge and using tools to plan and implement a campaign, helping to raise awareness of mental health issues and support students to think positively.

Rebecca Steele, Mental Health Advisor at York College says: “Having Mental Health Champions present in the College will ultimately improve the wellbeing of students and result in positive outcomes. Their work will help to reduce stress levels, especially around exam time and transitions, develop self-help skills, prevent the escalation of emotional issues and promote increased resilience, confidence and self-awareness amongst students. It is a privilege to be involved in such an innovative programme with such a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing. The Champions are a great bunch of students who have demonstrated a real passion for the project and a desire to make a change for the better”

A Level student, Myagh Gallagher says: “It’s so important to have a more positive outlook on mental health and be able to beat some of the stigma surrounding it. Through the scheme we aim to provide modern, insightful and engaging campaigns to shine a light on issues that affect so many people, especially around College.”

Health and Social Care student, Hollie Raisbeck adds: “I wanted to be part of this programme because of my own experience with mental health issues, and also because I've seen how poor mental health impacts on those around me. I think it is important that we talk about mental health and raise awareness of it so more people begin to talk and understand it better. I hope the stigma can be broken down and people do not feel ashamed of what they're experiencing, and not to be afraid to ask for help or advice. I think it is important to teach others the ways in which they can achieve positive mental health and improve the way people think and feel about themselves and the world around them.”

Lou Baker, Student Mental Health Coordinator at York College concludes: “It has been extremely exciting and inspiring to be part of the scheme for the Mental Health Champions and we have already seen a strong commitment and motivation by the new Champions to lead on the education and awareness for developing positive mental health and well-being within the student population."

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