For World Mental Health Day, Rebecca Thompson, a Specialist Mental Health Mentor at the University, speaks about the support available at the University for students with mental health issues.
“The most important message I have is mental health doesn't have to be a barrier to succeeding at University. Our service focuses on empowering and enabling our students throughout their University experience, so they're not disadvantaged by any mental health problems.
I work with students who have declared a mental health problem to the University. They would have attended a needs assessment, and as a result, would be provided with support via Student Finance Disabled Student Allowance.
I’ve provided support to students with long term conditions, such as:
When I meet with students, I help them to set goals and discuss how specialist mentoring can help achieve these goals. Sessions are flexible, as all students’ goals are very different. They’re also collaborative and provide students with the opportunity to break down their work into manageable chunks, find out about other useful services within the University, receive emotional support, obtain practical advice and gain support by working through any issues.
The service we offer means we can provide support in the following areas:
My role is very rewarding as I work with the most incredible students throughout their university journey. The best part of my job is seeing the students accomplishing their personal goals, no matter how big or small, and being proud of themselves.”
About the Specialist Mental Health support service:
We’re separate from the University counselling schemes.
We're not counsellors, or study skills advisors, we’re somewhere between the two, providing students with emotional support and practical guidance. Our support is long term, lasting the duration of a student’s course.
We’re separate from the University’s Student Mentoring schemes.
Specialist Mental Health Mentors, are members of University staff, registered with accredited bodies in either psychology, counselling or occupational health.
The support we provide needs to be structured, as it’s governed by a quality assurance framework. So, we have to meet students in confidential spaces, allowing 24 hours’ notice, before the meeting.
We cannot give specific academic advice.
Specialist Mental Health Mentors are not teacher trained. Neither are we experts in the different subject areas at the University. It’s our job to help students to reach an even keel with others on their course. Although we can provide support with areas such as time management, we cannot proofread essays.
How to contact the service
The most important thing to know is that the service is here and available. If there is anyone that thinks they may benefit from accessing the service or who would like to find out more, please contact us using the "Request for Support Form" that is available for all students on UniLife.