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Furness College launches team to support mental health

Sue Hannan

Furness College has launched a team of qualified Mental Health First Aiders as part of a national campaign to improve people’s wellbeing.

The college, which has campuses at Channelside and Rating Lane, has recruited a team of 14 staff who have successfully completed training.

The team will provide a point of contact for students or staff who are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

Director of Curriculum (Young People’s Learning) Sue Hannan, who is working alongside human resources to support the team, said: “To improve our focus on people’s mental health and wellbeing, we have launched a team of Mental Health First Aiders.

“We know that some people, particularly in the 16-24 age group, are struggling in the light of the lockdown due to Covid19. Everyone has experienced new challenges and, while some have grown more resilient, others may be feeling overwhelmed.

“We hope that by having a team of familiar faces within the college when students and staff are back on campus we can improve conversations and support each other with any concerns.

“We are not therapists but can give initial support and signpost to professional help and we know that starting to open up and talk about mental health is the first step.”

Since the start of the scheme, which backs a campaign by Mental Health First Aid England, other staff have also put their names forward to volunteer and a network group has been established with appropriate training, updates and refreshers.

The college plans to grow the group and hold an event on World Mental Health Day in October to raise awareness.

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