College supports Mental Health Awareness Week

College students were virtually joined by a collection of mental health advocates and specialists in order to celebrate and support Mental Health Awareness Week.

Author and former triathlon athlete, Steve Judge, kick-started the week by delivering his session about resilience and emotion. Steve shared his personal story through battling with a serious injury following a road accident and stressed the importance of sharing emotions with others. He explained that emotional output can present itself in a variety of forms and encouraged students to not only talk to others about how they feel, but to also express themselves through art, music and exercise.

Students then heard from James Crystal, a motivational speaker. James shared his first-hand experiences of dealing with mental health and how he overcame a battle with depression, drugs and crime by surrounding himself with positivity, true friends and education. He also touched on the dangers of recreational drugs and advised students on how to positively behave and react in emotionally-charged situations.

Students also listened to Ben Cross, Project Co-ordinator for Creative Minds, Barnsley. Ben outlined the current volunteering opportunities that are available to students and how getting involved can benefit them both personally and professionally. Ben also discussed the possible career opportunities in the voluntary sector and shared success stories from the organisation.

As the week progressed, students also heard from: Former College student and Founder of Tom’s Talks, Tom Dickinson; Owner of Better Minds, Dave Kneeshaw; Author and Mental Health Campaigner, Hope Virgo; Women’s Justice Ambassador from In2Change, Lilly Lewis; and Poet, Lewis Buxton.

The sessions were organised and facilitated by our Enterprise team. Lee Perks, Cultural Capital and Personal Development Co-ordinator at College, said: “It was amazing to see so many of our students getting involved in our digital event across Mental Health Awareness Week. We are committed to being actively involved in the social and cultural development of our community, raising aspirations and driving social mobility.”

Our Health and Social Care Professions department were also involved with raising awareness of mental health by working with Health and Social Care and Childcare and Education Professions Tutor, Carly Hambleton, to write and record a poem that tackles the stereotypes and preconceptions of those who live with a mental health disorder.

Carly added: “I wanted to highlight to students that the image of mental health is not how it is often portrayed; that their class friends, teachers, and other students could be suffering. I wanted to convey to them that there is a smile to mental health and, if they ever felt as if they were struggling, they were not alone. I hope that, after seeing others coming forward and after working together, they know that they can open up and talk to any of us at College about their troubles.”

Take a look at the poem below:

Last updated: 2nd June 2021

Originally posted on: 2nd June 2021