Alice aims to reduce stigma of mental health illness
Students struggling with their mental health received a boost this week with the announcement that Forth Valley College’s Wellbeing and Support Officer will be in post for at least another year.
Alice Smith’s important role has been secured until June 2020, thanks to funding from the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, which will enable the college to continue with and develop, the provision of the ‘Wellbeing Support Service’, which has been designed to specifically support the health and wellbeing needs of learners – many of whom are aged 16-25.
The aim of the service is to provide a proactive, early intervention/identification service which supports learners with their mental health and wellbeing – introducing self-management techniques, building resilience, raising awareness – and helping to prevent crisis situations. This includes a link up with Big White Wall an online forum used across many universities and colleges which operates 24 hours a day seven days a week all year round. This service will be available for students to contact if they are having difficulty coping out-with college hours.
Alice, said: “I am over the moon and very happy to be continuing here at Forth Valley College for another year. Since I have been here the feedback I have had from students has been fantastic – some have even written me testimonials on how helpful their sessions have been to them. My main aim for the next year is to try and reduce the stigma of mental health illness among our students and make the service that we provide as accessible as possible.”
Mhairi Shillinglaw, Head of Equalities, Inclusion and Learning Services, said: “We are delighted that Alice will be with us in her role as Wellbeing and Support Officer for another year, so she can continue to deliver her important work improving the mental welfare of our students. She is a valued member of our staff and we know the students also value the great work she does on a day to day basis.”
The Wellbeing Support Service is one of a number of specific support mechanisms across the College that can help students with their mental health. The College also has the Learner Advisory Team, Learning Support team, Time 4 Me Mentors, Learner Development Workers, and Counselling Support.
Funding will enable the evolution of the service as staff respond to a growing need within the College, and will include the introduction of technology as a further way to engage.
Anyone looking to find out more about the services provided by Alice should contact her via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org