From education to employment

NPTC Group of Colleges Mental Health Conference 2024

NPTC Group of Colleges(@NPTCGroup) held its third annual Mental Health Conference at Theatr Brycheiniog, in Brecon. The day saw talks about mental health, as well as tips on how individuals can improve their own health and wellbeing and how to help others.

The keynote speaker of the day was British broadcaster, journalist and weather presenter known for her work on ITV, Ruth Dodsworth.

Ruth spoke about the abuse she went through in her previous marriage, which has now encouraged her to advocate against domestic abuse. She was affected by her ex-partner’s coercive and controlling behaviour, especially with finance. Although Ruth was able to remain professional in work, she spent 20 years tiptoeing around and losing contact with friends and family. She now uses her experience to inform people of what she went through, the signs of domestic abuse, and how you can get help for yourself or someone else.

She said:

“Speaking about experience is a form of wellbeing, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experience domestic abuse. If you think someone you know is going through domestic abuse, ask them if they are ok.”

Ruth also spoke about Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), which is a police policy which gives people the right to know if their current or ex-partner has any previous history of abuse or violence.

Another guest speaker was Andrew Marshall who used the Chimp Paradox to explain how the human mind works. Exercise and nutrition were also discussed with Emma J from Lifeshaper, a coach who helps people reclaim their identity.   After a severe head injury from a car crash in 2002, Emma suffered with depression and used exercise and good nutrition to get out of it. Stress can affect your hormones, which then has an impact on your hunger, energy and cravings. Emma stated that dieting is not just about cutting down on what you eat but focusing on what you are putting into your body to have a better effect on your hormones.

Melanie Dunbar, HR Director and Kathryn Dunstan, Director of partnerships at NPTC Group of Colleges gave a talk on the recent partnership with Shelter Cymru, the Welsh homelessness charity. The aim of the partnership is to encourage college staff and students to volunteer when they can to raise awareness about homelessness as well as fundraise for Shelter Cymru, so they can get crucial resources. The NHS has identified ‘Give to others’ as one of the five steps to Mental Wellbeing. Research suggests that acts of kindness can help improve your mental well-being by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving a feeling of purpose and self-worth, and helping to connect with other people. It is hoped that this project will be of benefit to all stakeholders.

To finish off the day, Catherine Lewis, Principal of the College, gave a talk on the benefits of movement on your mental health. Catherine spoke about her recent visit to Slovenia where a new health programme is helping the nation. Young people have five hours of physical education per week, to keep them fit and healthy. They are not just seeing the physical benefits but the positive impact on mental health as well.

“The Mental Health Conference was a great opportunity for members of staff to come together and learn about how they can help their colleagues with any struggles they may be going through. Not only was it a great learning experience, but it was also a good opportunity for everyone to get together and catch up outside of their offices and hear about the different experiences everyone has been going through,” said organiser Lesley Havard, Health and Well Being Coordinator at NPTC Group of Colleges.

Related Articles