#StopStigma It affects all of us

I don’t think mental health has ever been higher in public consciousness with lots of high profile stories and figures talking more openly than ever before about issues.

In Higher Education this is probably the top issue talked about in terms of supporting students, so much so that the Government announced a new University Mental Health Charter in collaboration with the charity Student Minds in June, which is all about working out what is good practical support and rewarding institutions that display this.

Earlier this academic year staff at OCA were trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) by Mind Matters, a local trainer based in Barnsley, and we have a commitment to ensure that all staff are MHFA trained by the end of the 18/19 academic year. What was so apparent though during that session was how important mental health is to staff here, from ensuring that we consider mental health when designing learning activities, to providing the best possible support to students.

We’ve also been busy working with the University for the Creative Arts on thinking through projects and approaches to supporting mental health, particularly those who are getting into study for the first time, or leaving to go into work. Not only this but in addition we’ve been speaking to people much more knowledgeable than us on what is good practice.

And this is just the start. We’re making a commitment to really focus down on this issue so expect to see much more from us over the next year, be it in short campaigns to raise awareness, to announcing exciting new projects.

OCA is above the national average for the number of students with declared mental health issues and we know from speaking to students that OCA study is often the only way they could access higher education.

Remember that whatever your circumstances, OCA is here to support you, with no agenda, and no judgement. If you’re concerned about your mental health, talk to us, and we can help put you on the right track to the support you need.

Make sure you’re not suffering in silence – there is lots of help out there, take a look.

This has been day twenty-three of #accessoca, join us again tomorrow.

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