Here at HNC we know that happy students are successful students. If you’re hoping to join us in September, you can trust that you will be joining a College who will actively support your wellbeing needs. Our wellbeing approach doesn’t just extend to a helping hand when you need it though; as a College we aim to provide you with skills and knowledge required to help you to grow into a resilient and confident young person, ready for your next steps.

In this spotlight, we interview our Student Wellbeing Manager, who shares more about our wellbeing services, the support on offer, and on how a positive approach to wellbeing supports our students on their journeys to becoming their best selves.

Who are the wellbeing team, and what do you do?

The Student Wellbeing Team is made up of me, Rebecca Charlton (Student Wellbeing Manager), Tracy Durrans (Student Wellbeing Officer) and Lisa Matusiewicz (Student Wellbeing Officer). We are professionally trained in a number of mental health and wellbeing areas such as Mental Health First Aid, counselling skills and sexual health. We are an open minded and non-judgmental service; here to listen to anything that may troubling you. No problem is too big or too small and we always encourage you to come forward no matter how nervous or embarrassed you may feel. Our approach is person-centred, meaning we work with you to help you come to your own conclusions and find your own solutions… but the beauty of Student Wellbeing is it’s much less formal than clinical counselling – so if you’re looking for practical tips and management strategies, we can offer those as well!

 Why is the wellbeing of students so important to HNC?

Content students are the most effective learners. Positive wellbeing (be it mental, emotional or physical) is at the heart of many of HNC’s core values. We can only live our authentic lives to the fullest, if we are honest about things we may find difficult, are transparent about struggles we may be facing and are consistently striving to be the best we can be through accessing the provision available. Through looking after ourselves and talking through our problems, we can then pro-actively be self-disciplined; remaining committed to our studies and motivated to achieve our potential. In a modern world where mental health services are so stretched and we’re seeing waiting lists longer than ever before – our students are incredibly lucky at HNC that they can access on-site wellbeing support – often as soon as the same day! We don’t have clinical limitations like external services that may only offer 6-10 sessions at a time and students can access us for the full duration of the time they’re with us, if needed.

How could I seek support if I need it?

Students access our services in many ways; from booking in directly, to speaking to their tutor or a teacher first and being signposted to us. Whatever way you decide to reach out, booking a Student Wellbeing session is really easy! Most students will book an appointment themselves and you can do this by accessing the Student Wellbeing group on MS Teams, that all students are part of. On there, you’ll find various posts about features of our service, as well as links to external resources and posts about how to book appointments. You can also book appointments via the Student Wellbeing Moodle page and various QR codes around campus. More information will be shared with new students following enrolment.

Is it a confidential service?

In the most part, yes, most of the conversations we have in Student Wellbeing are fully confidential, in a safe and non-judgemental space. However, it’s context dependent (this is exactly the same as any form of therapy or clinical counselling). The team will always make clear to anyone accessing a session for the first time that most of what we talk about is completely confidential, and the only time we will every have to pass anything on is if risk of harm to yourself or others, as we have a legal duty to do so.

What are your top three tips for looking after your wellbeing?

  • Acknowledge that as much as mental health can be debilitating, we all have a personal responsibility to help ourselves; if you don’t proactively access the support or self-help available, nothing will change (it’s a bit like taking medication if you’re unwell – unless you actively take it, it won’t do anything for you!)
  • Maintenance is more effective than ‘cure’! Don’t let something get to a crisis point… if something is bothering you, reach out early on so that it’s less hard work to find resolve
  • If you have low self-confidence, experience low mood or find it difficult to see the good in things – when you get home at the end of each day, get two pieces of paper and on one thing write something negative that’s happened that day and something positive on the other (no matter how big or small that may be)
    • With the negative thing, physically destroy it (e.g. tear it up or scrunch it) and then bin it – psychologically, you’ll feel you’re ‘ridding’ yourself of that bad thing
    • With the positive thing, get an empty box or jar and keep it – at the end of the week, open them all up and look back at all the good things… see how long you can collect them for!
    • Many of our students who have tried this, have then done something with all the positives like made a collage or scrapbook to take with them to uni or their next steps after College

Do you offer free period products for students?

Absolutely! Student Wellbeing is very proud to be part of the government’s period equality scheme – offering FREE period products to any students that use them. We offer a range of disposable products like pads and tampons to reusable, eco-friendly products like period pants and menstrual cups. You can order these online or collect full packs of products from the ‘grab & go’ stand outside the Student Wellbeing offices. Single use items are also available from the stand if you’re caught short and don’t need a full pack. The average young person can spend upwards of £250 a year on period products, especially with conditions like PCOS and endometriosis – so why waste your money when you can get them for free?!

Don’t forget that if you’re hoping to join our College community, you will need to accept your place. You can do so here.

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