Your Mental Health Matters

Kindness Matters is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which City of Glasgow College is supporting.

Just six months ago the college held its first Mental Health Conference which focused on the challenges the tertiary education sector faces in supporting positive mental health.

Kirsty Macleod is Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at City of Glasgow College. Her role was new to the college when she took it on almost two years ago, following a college sector drive to increase support provided to students.

“It’s been a really interesting and exciting challenge,” explained Kirsty, who is a qualified social worker with a background in NHS mental health teams, including early intervention in psychosis and crisis teams.

Since the spread of COVID-19 and the closure of the college’s twin site campus buildings, its student support services were immediately moved online.

“We have resources available online for staff and students to help manage specific challenges during this difficult time. Counselling sessions and assessments are done on the phone and students have access to the Big White Wall, an online peer support service.

“We have specific support in place for our international students and those still based in college accommodation, and we have been working with CitySA to promote online yoga classes. Mindfulness Mondays were launched on the Student Advisors’ Facebook page, and we’re asking students what other support they would find useful at this time and over the coming months,” outlined Kirsty.

A great deal of work has been done in the last few years to help reduce the stigma people feel in talking about their mental health, but many still feel uncomfortable for a number of reasons. Often students on apprenticeships or courses linked to their employment will be cautious over concerns about the impact it may have on their jobs.

“The majority of mental health problems will develop before age 24 so it’s vital that support is offered to students early on. The most common issues students present with are anxiety and depression,” said Kirsty.

“The difference now is that more are coming forward to get support.”