The mental health of our students and staff is incredibly important to us here at CU London and that’s why we are undertaking training through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. We’re proud to say that already 10% of our staff are Mental Health First Aiders and that number will soon be growing.
Why we started MHFA training
When CU London was launched; Andy Ginn, our Associate Pro Vice Chancellor, wanted to provide staff with training in mental health skills and awareness so that they could build relationships with other members of staff and also students, and begin to feel comfortable enough to talk about any of their issues or concerns.
Training began with the MHFA England half day course and then moved on to the more in-depth two day training course, which 10% of our staff participated in and completed.
On the training, Andy said:
I feel very lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to implement a mental health policy from the ground up. With CU London, we were able to fully play out the Coventry University Group mission, vision and values and we felt that Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training was the ideal way to embed personal well-being, a growth mind-set and mental health awareness across the CU London campus.
The training so far has been really well received and both students and staff are reporting that they feel more open and more comfortable discussing personal issues and seeking help. Our student satisfaction rates for the year are at 96% and we believe that the MHFA training has contributed massively to this statistic.
One of our students explained her feelings towards mental health support:
I would go to my tutor as I know they wouldn’t have any judgement towards me and would help me the best they can. Even if I didn’t feel comfortable with my tutor, I could go to one of the Mental Health First Aiders and say, ‘Look I am struggling and I’m not sure what I should do now’ and see where they can guide me to. So, I think there’s enough support around the campus to open up . . . I’d suggest any student who is struggling seek help as soon as they can.
Moving towards the future
Following the positive response, the MHFA half day training course will be available on a wider scale in November 2018 and throughout the rest of the year. We will be working with the Student Union to provide MHFA training to anyone who requests it, and the courses will be promoted around campus and at our events.
We are working collaboratively across campus to further promote better student mental health: our café Cristinas Kitchen specialises in healthy dishes, we offer free yoga lessons on Wednesday’s from 1pm-2pm and we also offer an online virtual counselling service with a company called Big White Wall. Furthermore, we also have our brilliant Disability and Welfare Advisor Martyn Brown, based in the annexe, who is always around to lend support and offer help!
If mental health is important to you and you’d like to help others with their problems and concerns, our Counselling Degree at CU Coventry, CU London and CU Scarborough will provide you with all of the necessary knowledge and skills required to work towards becoming an ethical and professional counselling practitioner.