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Mental Health Awareness. Inge Axt-Simmonds, Mental Health Project Officer, South West England NIACE/NIMHE/LSC PARTNERSHIP PROJECT. Some background. Being a student….. The best time of your life? 10% of young people have mental health problems that require professional help.

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Mental Health Awareness


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    1. Mental Health Awareness Inge Axt-Simmonds, Mental Health Project Officer, South West England NIACE/NIMHE/LSCPARTNERSHIP PROJECT

    2. Some background Being a student….. The best time of your life? • 10% of young people have mental health problems that require professional help. • One in four adults will experience mental ill health at some point in their life. • Prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion against people with mental health difficulties is widespread. • 70% of people would not tell their employer about their mental health difficulties.

    3. Reading the signs The term ‘Mental Disorder’ is often used differently by different people. Look at the scenarios in your handout and decide, how far they fit into y o u rcategory of mental disorder. Discuss with the person next to you and agree a score.

    4. The most common mental health difficulties • Depression • Stress • Anxiety All these have low self-esteem in common

    5. Impact on learner Anxiety: • Restlessness • Irritability • Easily tired due to poor sleep • Difficulties with concentration and memory • Physical symptoms: panic attack, shortness of breath, sweating, fear of fainting, pounding heart

    6. Impact on Learner (2) Depression: • Low mood • Loss of pleasure and interest • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt • Poor concentration • Lack of energy particularly in the morning • Psychotic symptoms (e.g. distorted thoughts/beliefs)

    7. Impact on Learner(3) Stress: • Hyperactivity • Restlessness • Poor concentration • Verbal aggression • Low tolerance threshold • Forgetfulness

    8. Strategies to support learners with mental health difficulties ‘We learned not to second guess what might work; not to restrict our thinking; not to forget the individual…… We have broken down our rigid thinking patterns and considered what might be effective, not just what the accepted strategy is’. The learner is the expert on his/her mental health: it is the discussion with each individual learner that counts.

    9. What could you do? • Talk to the learner, broach the subject • Know your limits • Make the time • Ask the right questions • Know how and where to refer to/liaise with • Look after yourself • Be supportive and non-judgemental • Don’t turn away in a crisis

    10. Mental Health ‘First Aid’ • Panic attacks • Self-injury • Suicidal thoughts • Aggression

    11. Top 10 ways to promote positive mental health in Adult Education • Think about the culture and environment of your organisation • Involve and consult learners • Do policies and procedures promote well-being? • Audit well-being like a Health and Safety audit • Use positive images and promotional material

    12. Top 10 ways to promote positive mental health in Adult Education 6.Training and awareness for learners and staff 7. Raise mental health awareness through curriculum teams and subjects 8. Make information about mental health accessible 9. Celebrate success and achievements 10.Set a positive example of healthy working.

    13. Contact details: Inge Axt-Simmonds Regional Project Officer, Mental Health South West NIACE/CSIP(NIMHE) Partnership project supported by Learning and Skills Council Learning Team Provincial House 25 Oxford Road Bournemouth BH8 8EY Tel. 01202 652651 mob. 07917 507487 e: inge.axtsimmonds@lsc.gov.uk inge.axt-simmonds@niace.org.uk