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World Mental Health Day

At Canterbury College we think it is vital that every student feels comfortable in their surroundings and feels able to do their best as they progress through their studies. Part of that offer is delivered by our amazing services in the Learning Resource Centre (K Block, first floor), within which specialist learning practitioners in the recently refurbished Emotional Wellbeing Centre are there to help with all things relating to emotional and mental health. Today we are speaking to a student who has used these facilities to enhance their time at college.

Kirsty, Health and Social Care

How are you today?

D’you know what, I actually feel really good today!

When did you start using the facilities at the EWC?

Last year when I started in September. I changed courses to start Health and Social Care this year, but I since being at the college I have used the facilities at the EWC on a daily basis.

What issues were you facing that made you seek help?

Depression, anxiety, and still suffer occasionally with self-harm. I’ve done really well recently – I’m now on 22 days clean, so I’m proud of myself.

How did you find out about the facilities available at the EWC?

I found out when I came in to have an initial sit-down chat with the head of the ALS (Additional Learning Support) department. At the time when I started last year, my mental health played a huge part in who I am – and still does today – and I accessed the Emotional Wellbeing Centre through counselling and they all encouraged me to come and talk to the staff in the EWC.

How has the EWC helped you?

Offering me the support that I need there and then. Helping me with strategies to cope with everyday events that I may find stressful. That’s not just related to studying – my mental health effects everything in my day-to-day life, from whether that’s studying or my relationships with my friends and my family.

What would be your top tips for anyone that’s feeling down or goes through some challenging times at college?

Don’t be afraid to come up and speak to someone – or anyone you have a connection with. when you are struggling it’s a lot easier to cope with things if you just speak to someone. It doesn’t have to be a friend, or a carer, or your Mum or Dad, it can be a complete stranger. For example, if you’re in your first year at college and you don’t know anyone yet, by coming up to the Wellbeing Centre, or your tutors, or whoever, you’re actually already doing something to help yourself!

Where there any barriers that stopped you personally from looking for these services before?

There were things in my past that prevented me from taking the step to talk to someone about it, but actually, the more I started looking into it, and the more I started to help myself, the easier I found it to just speak to someone – whoever was around at the time!

Since being here over the last two years, I’ve got a lot more confident and my mental health has improved a lot since my first year.

We’ve also talked to some of the great people who could help you through your time at college!

Vicki Smith, Emotional Wellbeing Centre

What is your role?
My role is Head of Safeguarding and Wellbeing, we have two part time counselling and wellbeing practitioners, Bonnie Wood and Pippa McIntyre, volunteers who work in the EWC. All of our practitioners are qualified counsellors and then the rest of the service is made up from qualified counsellors and placement counsellors. We also offer placements within the college for Level 3 Health and Social Care student too.

Where is the EWC?
The centre is based at the back of the LRC and we are open from 8.45am - 5pm, Monday to Thursday.

How can I contact the EWC?
We can be contacted by email, mobile, dropping in the centre, or through your mentor or tutor.

I’m worried that my friends might find out
The meetings are confidential.

How can you help me, inside and outside of college?
Not only can we offer counselling and advice from professionals while at college, we run a clothes and toiletries bank that students can access, we often are given food from Streetside, and we can help with referrals to finance. We can make referrals to many outside agencies.

Maintaining good mental health is an important part of college and life in general, so if you feel that these services might help you have a better time at college, don’t hesitate to start the conversation and talk to one of our professionals in complete confidentiality today.

Telephone: 01227 811166
Email: lrc@eastkentcollege.ac.uk