Tackling mental health head on with support from key partners at South Devon College


South Devon College recognises the need for mental health support has never been greater.

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, South Devon 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.

Most recently, the College has secured a substantial mental health training package from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity. Whilst Lighthouse were only able to offer the package to five London-based colleges, Head of Construction and Building Services at South Devon College, 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 the College’s enrolled construction students.

Sarah Bolton – Head of Charitable Services at Lighthouse said “We are delighted to be able to provide South Devon 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 South Devon College also have a strong relationship with local and internationally successful barber, Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective.

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.”

Tom’s charity has reached and trained barbers around the world, with the aim of making a significant difference in the rate of male suicide. To have this training available for students wanting to work in the barbering industry sets them up from the start of their career, making them aware of how they can use their position to save lives.

The College itself has plenty of mental and wellbeing support available to any student that needs it through their dedicated Positive Intervention (PI) team.

They work hard to support mental health, personal welfare and wellbeing, and can put students in contact with other supporting agencies if needed. They also offer emotional and pastoral support to help you achieve your potential, stay on course and develop personal and social skills in preparation for employment or further education.

South Devon College’s goal is to continue developing and adapting mental health support and awareness to enable anyone in the community to learn something new.

For more information, visit southdevon.ac.uk where you can find all the support they have on offer. If you have any questions, get in touch by calling 08000 380 123 or email enquiries@southdevon.ac.uk.

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