College appoints dedicated Mental Health First Aiders

Northumberland College has highlighted the progress it is making during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.

Thursday, 16th May 2019, 1:20 pm
Nigel Harrett.

It has worked on staff training and development in order for teaching, management and pastoral support teams to recognise the early signs of mental health issues in students and provide an ‘open-door’ policy to wellbeing support.

This has now enabled Northumberland College to appoint dedicated Mental Health First Aiders to fully engage with students on a daily basis and effectively support those seeking help.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on body image and the changes required in cultural values, parenting styles, schooling approaches, use of technology advertising standards and reducing discrimination.

The newly formed regional college group Education Partnership North East – which includes Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and, more recently following the merger, Northumberland College – has committed to changing the perceptions of mental health in the workplace.

It will have more than 100 staff fully trained in mental health first aid by June and by 2020, this will become one in seven members of staff across all campuses.

Northumberland College Principal Nigel Harrett said: “Whilst we, as a sector, have moved a very long way to address the issues from an educational perspective, more can and needs to be done in terms of ensuring that mental health and physical health are on an equal footing.

“However, colleges must also have access to the correct funding and resources needed to deliver the necessary training for staff therefore, by forging partnerships with industry, social and welfare services, as well as those working in the medical profession, we can deliver a much more comprehensive wellbeing agenda and development programme that effectively addresses mental health in young people and the student population.

“Staff can then truly support their needs in line with the real issues that young people face.”

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