Derby College is expanding its peer mentor programme after a successful pilot to train students to support others facing lower levels of mental health issues.
Six students, based at the Broomfield Hall Land-based and Leisure College in Morley, have so far been trained to provide support to their peers.
They and the Services for Students teams across the College took advantage of the activities planned as part of World Mental Health Day to launch this year’s recruitment drive for more peer mentors.
Among the young people already trained under the programme is Agriculture student Tom Whelan (18).
He said: “I think that young people are more likely to talk to their peers if they have an issue in their lives that is causing them stress and anxiety.
“Our role is to be a listening ear and signpost them to services within the College if that’s what they want.
“There is a lot of pressure on young people nowadays – particularly when they are looking for a job – and our role is to support them before the situation potentially escalates and show them that there is help available at the College.”
Director of Services for Students Helen Jefferson continued: “World Mental Health Day was the perfect vehicle to raise the profile of peer mentor training amongst our student body.
“We have a wide range of support in place for students but it is important to empower our own student body to help each other.
“During the day we also had a range of fun activities inspired by the Young Minds’ #Helloyellow campaign.
“Many of the students and staff wore yellow to signify that young people are not alone with it comes to their mental health and our key message was the need to break down the stigma around talking about mental health and the issues that young people face in their daily lives.
“The day was a great success and we now look forward to training students to be peer mentors at our Broomfield Hall, Ilkeston, Joseph Wright and Roundhouse colleges to continue the good work underway.”