Supporting positive mental health and wellbeing of students and staff is always a number one priority for East Kilbride based South Lanarkshire College.
At South Lanarkshire College, a large focus is placed on positive mental health and wellbeing through a variety of support measures, this includes the introduction of health and wellbeing smile boxes for all staff and students. The free boxes, which contain a selection of branded and personalised products and mindfulness resources encourage self-care and positive mental health. The packs include items such as a selection of hot drinks along with a treat, a letter of support from the Senior Management team, self-care products such as a happy therapy balm, a mental health survival kit and much more. These individual gift boxes aim to be an instant pick-me-up, so you can enjoy some well -deserved ‘me-time’.
To ensure support is available to all in the College community, South Lanarkshire College has a dedicated Student Services team located on the main college campus. The team provides help and support with a wide range of issues including funding, personal and emotional challenges, childcare, housing, and benefits advice. Staff will provide emotional support and talk through concerns and issues with practical help and support available. The Student Services team offer a holistic, person-centred approach to ensure students are directed to the most appropriate supported pathway tailored to their specific needs.
Within the Student Services team, students are offered access to in-house therapeutic counselling support which has been designed to help students who are experiencing psychological or emotional distress which is impacting on their studies, relationships, work, or life in general. The service provides a safe and confidential space for students to talk about their feelings and explore issues or concerns that are causing distress. Counselling support is offered online, by telephone or face-to-face.
South Lanarkshire College is a member of Togetherall, an anonymous online support service for students and staff that provides 24/7 mental health support from trained professionals. Togetherall provides a safe space online where students and staff can get thoughts off their chest, explore their feelings, and learn skills to help self-manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Student and staff mental and physical health is at the forefront of South Lanarkshire College’s activity and to encourage positive mental health, the College have
developed and delivered free weekly online yoga and mindfulness classes. All sessions are recorded so that they are easily accessible at a time that is convenient. Free yoga mats were also provided to all students who signed for the class. Staff also have access to free online fitness classes including yoga and circuits.
To help support student mental health and wellbeing, the Student Services team developed and delivered a new in-house COVID Resilience workshop and Student Wellbeing and Relaxation Classes. The COVID Resilience workshops featured a strong focus on resilience strategies, in addition to outlining the various support services available. The purpose of these one-off sessions was to introduce the concept of resilience, address what stress means, how to recognise when we are stressed and provide practical tips on how to develop resilience. The Wellbeing and Relaxation included sessions covering Anxiety, Sleep Issues, Coping Strategies and Confidence and Self-Esteem. There were helpful, practical pieces including Emotional Check-ins, Mindful Breathing and Self-Massage.
To ensure full support is given to students to assist their mental health and wellbeing, South Lanarkshire College offers the Mental Health First Aid training course to all staff. South Lanarkshire College staff on the course learn the practical skills required to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues. The course allows staff to participate in a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions and each session is built around a Mental Health First Aid Action Plan. All college staff who complete the course gets an MHFA manual to keep and refer to, and a certificate to say they are a Mental Health First Aider.
South Lanarkshire College Head of Student Services, Rose Harkness said “Coming to college can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also provide extra challenges and stress, which may affect student health and wellbeing. As a college, we continue to acknowledge the strains on daily life and provide the care and support needed for a positive student experience. We are committed to the wellbeing of our students and the College has a great reputation for providing a nurturing environment as well as a level of support which helps students thrive. The College is absolutely committed to supporting individuals who are experiencing poor mental health and to remove the stigma by normalising conversations about mental health to encourage everyone to prioritise their emotional wellbeing”