At the beginning of 2021, the Association of College’s released the Mental Health in College’s Report. This report further emphasised that the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff is a huge priority for colleges – even more so since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic. Some of the challenges faced by colleges include:
- 90% of colleges seeing an increase in students diagnosed with mental health conditions
- 85% of colleges seeing a significant number of students with undiagnosed mental health difficulties
- 94% of colleges have students who have attempted suicide in the last twelve months
- Nearly half of colleges (41%) say that mental health referrals have been significantly higher since the pandemic began
To support college’s build a resilient community within each of their institutions, as well as support students to develop the necessary strategies to tackle the daily challenges faced by students across the country, Let’s Chat has released a number of teaching resources that can be used by all UK colleges and are available on this page.
The Let’s Chat collaboration have worked with a number of young people from two large FE colleges in the UK to identify the top 5 issues affecting young people today. Working with a specialist partner (Somerset Counselling Centre), the two colleges have been able to create comprehensive teaching packs that can be downloaded and delivered in tutorials or PSD sessions for post-16 learners.
Top 5 issues affecting young people:
Each themed session is differentiated by 16-19 study programme level (i.e. level 1, level 2, level 3) and is supported by clear tutor notes that identifies potential activities, resources with discussion to enable students across the country to explore these key issues.
Pilot Case Study
Weston College decided to roll out these resources as part of a college theme fortnight on community awareness. The first week of the fortnight was dedicated to ‘you’, as it was important for students to recognise that they will only be able to really look after their community the best way they can, if they are only looking after themselves.
Tutors across all 16-19 study programmes were sent these resources and were tasked with delivering at least one of these tutorials in their college PSD sessions called Individual Development (I.D.). Tutors would be given the choice on what was the best session to deliver using their discussions and knowledge of the group to decide which session would be most relevant and meet the needs of the students.
Antonia Travers, Teaching Learning & Assessment Manager said ‘These 5 topic’s were chosen after feedback from staff and discussions with the therapists at Let’s Chat. Each of the sessions was planned by members of our Teaching and Learning Team, many of which are directly working with young people experiencing these challenges during lockdown. As a result the planned sessions allow young people to reflect on the meaning behind the topic, to consider their own skills and plan ways to make healthy choices. They are interactive and can be delivered digitally or face-to-face. Working with the specialist organisation Somerset Counselling Centre provided the team with expert guidance. We were able to use the theory and thought processes from the therapy videos and resources. As a team we also participated in a session with the lead therapist, which focused around the selected topics and the videos, so that we were fully prepared before planning the resources.
The sessions have been received well, one staff member said ‘Having these resources helped to support me in feeling more confident to teach the topics & allowed me to also embed/relate to how the points such as stress, anxiety etc. relate to the workplace/industry’, Another tutor stated that their level 1 learners found the sessions helpful especially in the current climate. A lot of them opened up and shared their struggles and feelings’.
An Early Years level 1 group completed an overview of all of the 5 areas, they also explored Let’s Chat and the support they can provide. After a great session examining the 5 emotions learners planned to make some healthy life choices.
All resources that are available for download via Let’s Chat are white labelled and only have the branding of the initiative. They do not reference any college and therefore as Let’s Chat has been funded by the DfE they can be straight away downloaded and delivered in a college session.
Tell us what you think
Please help us by completing this quick survey. It will take you no longer than two minutes.