Would you know what to do if a student launched into an angry tirade in the library, or dissolved into tears during a tutorial? How should you deal with the immediate situation? What is the safeguarding policy? How and when should you contact student wellbeing services?
Frontline staff are often first to see or hear of students in distress, but this can be emotionally challenging. It’s important, therefore, that employees feel confident in their ability to handle such situations and provide the right support for students at the right time. To help, and in response to calls from members, we are just about to launch a free, pilot course.
Earlier this year, members at our stakeholder forum identified student wellbeing as a priority for their colleges and universities and feedback from our account managers showed a need for staff training to support that theme.
We know that many frontline staff have completed Mental Health First Aider training, which is very good at providing an overview of recognised mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. Our training, which takes a broad look at all sorts of emotional difficulties, as well as mental health conditions, provides the opportunity to build upon and broaden these skills and knowledge, with space to practice and discuss them using example scenarios.
Our aim is for frontline staff to gain confidence in their existing ability and to develop new skills to support their role, which can also be helpful outside the workplace. We aim to boost confidence in decision making, reduce stress reaction and provide a safe please to practice mental health first aid.
We will also be encouraging people on the course to share best practice, so members can learn from each other.
Steve James, who has ten years’ experience as a mental health practitioner in the NHS and a national military charity, will deliver the free online pilot training course, which takes place over two afternoons, 23 and 25 July. There are still some places left. For more information, email email@example.com or call 01235 822242.