College tackling mental health head on

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World Mental Health Day - Credit: Submitted

South Devon College has secured an invaluable training package to help tackle mental health head on.

The necessary restrictions to respond to COVID-19 have both caused inevitable mental health issues across the country’s population and encouraged people to take more care of their own and their families’ mental health.

To tailor support, the college has formed great relationships with charities to build sector-specific support and mental health training for their students, so they are better equipped for challenges they may face during and beyond their studies.

The college has also secured a substantial mental health training package from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity. Lighthouse were only able to offer the package to five London-based colleges, but the college's Head of Construction and Building Services Dean Bowden reached out to work together and bring that same support to students in Devon.

The result is over £10,000 worth of free training and resources for enrolled construction students.

Sarah Bolton – Head of Charitable Services at Lighthouse - said “We are delighted to be able to provide the college the training to enable their students to learn about mental health, spot signs and symptoms, and how to have conversation. We hope it will encourage mental health discussions to take place in a non-judgemental way and form a culture shift in construction that it’s not weak to speak, and that there is support from our charity should anyone need it.”

The Hair and Beauty department at the college also have a strong relationship with local and internationally successful barber, Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective. 

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The Collective is a charity that provides training to barbers to recognise signs of ill mental health to signpost to suicide prevention agencies.

Tom said:  “Hair and beauty professionals hold a unique and privileged position in society of trust with their clients, sharing the highs and lows of their lives over many years. The hair and beauty industry is in the perfect position to bridge the gap between the communities they serve and the resources/professionals available. Training the next generation is the only way to ensure long lasting real change and as a former student of South Devon College, it gives me huge pride to know that they will be the inaugural Lions Academy.”