Canterbury College hosts range of events to raise awareness and provide support for students with mental health issues
Students and staff at Canterbury College have continued to raise awareness and support learners with mental health problems by hosting a range of community-based events.
As part of the College’s community day, Media & Communication students hosted an interactive Question Time-style debate. Students invited charity workers to discuss important issues such as the stigma faced by sufferers and their everyday challenges.
The event was filmed by students and each charity in attendance received a video to use as a promotional and educational tool.
Battling stigma and breaking down barriers has been placed firmly in the spotlight since the launch of a campaign by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry called Heads Together.
The Royals spoke candidly about the importance of supporting young people with mental health problems for a recent BBC documentary.
Mental health can particularly affect students and the College has taken steps to ensure there is a strong support network for learners.
Mental Health Tutor at Canterbury College, Marie Swinbourne, organised events for World Mental Health Day, Time to Talk and Mental Health Awareness Week. Local organisations were invited into the College where they set up information stalls and provided activities for the students.
Supported Learning students made a tree which they could stick supportive messages onto. Learners also had the opportunity to meet a range of animals, including a domesticated fox, as interacting with pets is proven to reduce stress.
Members of local charity group, The Mustard Seeds, performed and held lyric writing workshops. Members of the group – who suffer from a range of mental health problems – say singing together promotes wellbeing and helps alleviate their symptoms.
Carrying on this positive momentum the College will hold its very own wellbeing festival on 20 September 2017. The event will give students and staff the opportunity to explore the range of support services offered and network with external agencies and charities. There will be a variety of activities including yoga, poetry therapy, live music and stall holders.
Lucy McLeod, Principal of Canterbury College, is pleased with the efforts undertaken.
She said: “It is crucial that we do everything we can to create an environment where students feel comfortable to talk about mental health and can ask our staff for help in getting the support they need. Our wellbeing activities are a very important part of that support network.”