The annual Beacon Awards, in their 25th year, celebrate the best and most innovative practice at colleges across the country, and this award is timely recognition of the excellent support the college offers its staff and students.
CONEL created a mental health strategy that has been embedded into the daily life of the college, designed to equip students and staff with the knowledge and support to identify and manage mental health issues.
The college actively promotes positive mental health and well-being and supports those experiencing difficulties to overcome barriers to enhance their resilience and achieve their full potential. This starts when students are interviewed and enrolled, and continues during their course and progression to further study.
To ensure that learners receive the best mental health support and well-being guidance, CONEL works with many local and national organisations including the NHS, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) teams, Mind, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, drug and alcohol services, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, Freedom From Torture, Cruse Bereavement Care and the Refugee Council.
Staff mental health is equally supported through a range of co-ordinated activities and training to promote good health and well-being, such as health checks, yoga, meditation, diet quizzes, informative alerts and resources.
They also receive updates and training on key issues such as online safety, as do students, along with resources and focusing on events such as Mental Health Awareness Week in May and International Mental Health Day in October.
Assistant Principal Hilary Moore, said: “One in four of us in the UK will have some kind of mental health issue in our lives. This prompted us to produce our mental health strategy to support those who are struggling – particularly in these difficult times.
“We are thrilled to have been among the finalists of the Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Mental Health and Well-Being, which is fantastic recognition of the positive approach we have taken in responding to and managing these issues.”
Understanding and managing mental health has become even more important with the coronavirus pandemic having a huge impact on people’s lives and their well-being. Hilary added: “Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak we are offering mental health support online and reassurance to our staff and students while they are at in lockdown at home.”