Noel McDermott, CEO, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd

Exam season is one of the most difficult times of year for young people, exam pressure can be a large source of stress and can be detrimental to the mental health of students.

Learning mental health first aid and how to spot signs of emotional distress and mental health struggles, you will be able to help in ways that are safe for your friend or fellow students and for yourself. 

Mental health first aid is like medical first aid in that you learn how to help someone get the help they need for their problems.

First aid will stop injuries developing into bigger problems than they need to, and the first aider will know how to get help to the patient quicker.

The same principle is applied to mental health first aid; understand the problem, provide immediate help so the situation does not worsen and get help to the patient quickly from better trained and equipped professionals.

First aid is given because without it the patient will get worse; the earlier a person gets help the better for them.

As mental health problems happen to so many people it is likely you will come across someone you know well having these problems. It’s easy to get caught up in someone’s problems and become overwhelmed or the opposite run away from them because of not knowing how to help properly.

Tips for being a mental health first aider - ABC’s of Mental Health First Aid

Assess - Is there an immediate risk, is the person in imminent threat of harming themselves? do you need to contact police or an ambulance? 

Be supportive - Listen in a non-judgemental way to the problems your friend or fellow student is having

Contact further help and support - Don’t promise to keep secrets, and ensure you pass on concerns to someone who can take further action

To be able to action these steps you must learn about mental health and how to assess what you are dealing with.

The signs of common mental health problems are well known and can be learned very easily, the most common problems are depression and anxiety, some people may have more severe conditions such as bi-polar or psychosis and others may have problems with deliberate self-harm, eating disorders or substance misuses disorders. 

Key things to look for are that might suggest problems with anxiety or depression:

  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Changes in diet and eating habits
  • Problems with sleeping patterns
  • Problems concentrating or a drop-in ability at school or college
  • Regular unexplained absences 
  • Fear of the future and life or a lack of hope about them

Key things to look for are that might suggest an eating disorder:

Advertisement

  • Being very underweight or overweight
  • Normal weight but obsession with food and exercise
  • Being very controlling around food and relationships
  • Perfectionism

Key things to look for are that might suggest addiction issues such as alcohol or drugs:

  • Obsessiveness and being very controlling
  • Involvement with criminality
  • Changes to social network to reflect people who are using and part of drugs culture
  • Isolation from family and friends 

Learning theses signs and symptoms will allow you to feel confident to what extent you can give immediate help and what other support is needed. Listen then support the person in getting professional advice. Learning about these other avenues is crucial, it’s also crucial when you hand the person on to someone who can help further.

Getting someone to the appropriate service first time means they will follow through on the help more often; having to go from one service to another often means vulnerable people give up. 

Often you may be the first person the friend or fellow student opens up to, so not judging them is vital. As is having concrete knowledge to offer them about what they might be experiencing. Often people with mental health problems lack insight into being ill and needing help. Being able to help them see they are ill and that help exists is a powerful intervention for change.

Exam pressure can represent a ticking time bomb in the lives of students. Students can find their lives overwhelmed by exams and it is important to ensure that students have a support network and understand that exam pressure is a normal experience and that it is something that can be dealt with.

Mental Health Help Available in the UK

In the UK we have very good national services available. See your GP - your doctor can refer you or a loved one to local support services and talking treatments. Alternatively, the individual may benefit from a 1 on 1 consultation with a professional in this field to discuss your concerns and work towards creating a care program. 

Noel McDermott, CEO, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd

Noel McDermott is a pioneering health and social care professional with over 25 years of industry experience. He is passionate about bringing high quality care and support to those who are vulnerable. Noel’s areas of expertise include mental health, emotional health and wellbeing, child care, trauma, social care, addiction and recovery, distance therapy, refugees and personal development.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel commented on this video 13 hours 19 minutes ago

www.accenture.com/gb-en/insights/future-workforce/…

How To Bridge The Skills Gap In The Future...

It's learning. Just not as we know it. The race is on... It’s a race between education and technology. As intelligent systems and machines reshape...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 13 hours 22 minutes ago

How To Bridge The Skills Gap In The Future...

It's learning. Just not as we know it. The race is on... It’s a race between education and technology. As intelligent systems and machines reshape...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page