Boost for mental health and wellbeing support in Welsh further education
n a significant move to bolster mental health and wellbeing support in further education (FE) colleges across Wales, the Welsh Government has announced a £4 million funding injection.
This investment aims to enhance the capacity of welfare teams in all FE colleges in Wales, including the recruitment of wellbeing support officers.
The funding builds on previous Welsh Government-funded mental health and wellbeing initiatives such as counselling support, early intervention training, recruitment of staff to encourage outdoor activity, and projects working with mental health charities.
Two colleges, Coleg Cambria and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, have already utilised Welsh Government mental health and wellbeing funding to collaborate with Public Health Wales in developing trauma-informed practice.
Staff at these institutions have received training to understand how trauma can impact learners and how to provide appropriate support.
The colleges have transformed their physical environments to create wellbeing hubs, which offer a calming environment to promote mindfulness and wellbeing. Information to support mental health and wellbeing is readily available, and wellbeing officers are on hand to talk to staff and learners.
The trauma-informed approach is being expanded to other FE colleges in Wales, thanks to this latest funding.
Over 1,200 learners at Coleg Cambria have already benefited from these initiatives, and over 800 are currently receiving ongoing support.
Since 2020, 11 new staff members have been recruited to support the mental health and wellbeing of both staff and learners at the college.
During Mental Health Awareness week, staff and learners at Coleg Cambria enjoyed wellbeing sessions ranging from physical activities such as basketball, football, spin classes and yoga to other wellbeing activities including bushcraft, origami and meeting assistant dogs, owls, and falcons. Many of these activities are supported by local charities and small businesses.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, emphasised the importance of continuing to build on the excellent work taking place in the FE sector to meet the increased demand for mental health support following the pandemic.
He announced the extra funding to build on this existing work and to create new initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of learners.
Carlie Hughes-Lloyd, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Transitions Officer at Coleg Cambria, appointed as a result of Welsh Government’s mental health and wellbeing funding, expressed her delight at the changes she has witnessed since her time as a learner at the college.
She praised the increased support available for staff and learners and the creation of wellbeing hubs as safe spaces for everyone.
Lizzie Stevens, Head of Inclusion at Coleg Cambria, reiterated the college’s commitment to providing inclusion for all and recognising the barriers learners face, including mental ill health.
She highlighted the support from the Welsh Government and its Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, which has enabled the college to provide timely and dedicated support to learners. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com