Charter for mental health in FE colleges launched
The NUS has released a charter for mental health in further education. While not specifically about international students, the issues raised affect all students.
The report ‘Further Education and Mental Health’ draws on findings from a survey conducted by the Association of Colleges earlier this year which found that 100% of further education colleges surveyed have students who are diagnosed with depression.
It addresses a need for young people to be involved in conversations around their own mental health and features the voices of a sample of 15-18 year olds from across the country. Key findings include:
- Social media was the most commonly referenced contributor to poor mental health. Students mentioned that the 24/7 nature of social media made them vulnerable to online bullying at all hours. A key concern about social media harassment was how it is often centred on racism and islamophobia.
- Students feel that there is still stigma around mental health, particularly in colleges. Students spoke of feeling ‘weak’ if they used mental health services and said that support is seen as being only for very serious cases. They also described how phrases such as ‘I’m so depressed’ or ‘I want to kill myself’ are used flippantly, and trivialise mental health.
- Mental health services are not communicated well enough. Many students spoke of not knowing where to find help, both within their colleges and in the wider community.
The report sets out a ‘Charter for Mental Health in Further Education Colleges’ which includes:
- All college staff should receive mental health awareness training
- Colleges should run internal mental health campaigns that focus on symptoms of a wide range of mental illnesses
- Colleges to improve the way they communicate the support services that are available to students. Including what is available beyond the college, via the NHS, local authorities and voluntary groups
The full report can be read at NUSconnect.org.uk.
If you're interested in mental health training, UKCISA’s one-day course runs each year and is suitable for colleagues in FE. Have a look at this year’s summary and training calendar.