Prizes & mood-boosters on offer for members of new mental health group

Prizes & mood-boosters on offer for members of new mental health group

Trafford College has put mental health firmly top of the agenda by inviting staff and students to take the lead in boosting wellbeing on campus

There’s a growing following among members of the College community to an online Mental Health Champions group, accessible through Microsoft Teams, who have chance to win big in a milestone prize draw as well as gain exclusive insights into virtual activities to support better mental health.

The mood-boosting timetable has been drawn up by a special board of representatives, which include student mental health ambassadors, who have been specially trained in strategies to support wellbeing by the Association of Colleges.

Together they have been working on a range of online extra-curricular health and wellbeing sessions, which have been made possible by volunteers from within the College’s staff and student network.

The sports department has helped launch a fantastic set of prizes for participants who log steps along the College’s challenge to virtually walk the Great Wall of China as well as the chance to participate in live Zumba sessions each week.

Art for mindfulness sessions are available courtesy of fantastic volunteers from the Creative Arts Team with Mindfulness for Beginners sessions run by Sarah Dignan from Learner Services.

Superstar lecturer from the College Group’s Hospitality and Catering Department, Carol Brown, hosts regular bakery slots.

Staff and students also get together for a book and film club run by the community and there’s a regular puzzle posted to keep brains active called Solution Solver as well as weekly posts of positivity.

Mental Health Ambassador Ieuan Flowers, who is studying an Access to HE Level 3 Diploma in Nursing to progress to a degree in physiotherapy, said: “Before enrolling at College, and particularly after experiencing lockdowns due to Covid, I started to become aware of the effects that my own mental health was having on my life, both at work and at home and with my relationship with my partner. I am someone who enjoys outdoor pursuits and became much more aware of the positive impact that a day out on my bike would have on my mood and motivation with work/College.

“I think mental health is going to be one of the defining health issues of my generation and possibly those to follow. So many factors including social media and racial/gender discrimination are compounding mental health issues and I felt like it was something that needed addressing.

“Our aim as ambassadors is for the College community to find something accessible from the timetable of activities to take control of their mental wellbeing, whether that’s getting outdoors and exploring, or enjoying baking. Whatever helps them to manage their mental health is a tool that will benefit them for years to come.

“I want to be there to provide support for other students and staff and empower them to find an outlet for their stresses and anxieties, and to enable them to manage their mental wellbeing.”

Project Lead for Sport England at the College Leah Greig, Sport Activator William Craven and Student Engagement Lead Michelle McLaughlin have all been instrumental in setting up this initiative and plan to celebrate reaching a milestone in participants with a prize draw for members.

Leah said: “Becoming mental health ambassador is a professional development opportunity and way for students to develop key skills that they can take with them through life. If you’ve got mental health training on your CVs, in the world we’re living in at the moment, it’ll show you’re capable of a great deal of resilience and are well-equipped to work with colleagues for future employers.

“The ambassadors are a fundamental part of our Mental Health Champions group and the mental health timetable they have set up has been an incredible feat of organisation and very much welcomed by our College community. We’d like to thank all our staff and students for their support leading these online activities and encourage everyone to become a member through Teams to unlock the key to better mental health.”