SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Glasgow Clyde College today (Wednesday 8 November) officially launch a Mentally Healthy College Community project.

The project, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, was launched by Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt.

Working across the College, the aim is to create a mentally healthy, open and vibrant college community. Research indicates that students may be more likely than other groups to experience mental health problems and that serious mental health problems among students are increasing.[1]

Three quarters of young people don’t know what mental health information and support is available to them. By creating a culture in which students can ask for and receive support for their mental health, it is hoped that students will be better prepared for working life.

SAMH is working alongside existing Glasgow Clyde College counselling services, advisory teams and the student association to ensure college staff have the increased capacity to support students.

The two-year pilot project funded with a grant of £179,000 from Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation will train all staff on mental health to support almost 18,000 students.

Mental Health Minister, Maureen Watt, said: “It is my pleasure to launch Scotland’s first Mentally Healthy College in Glasgow. Good mental health is as important as good physical health. That is why we have an ambitious, long-term Mental Health Strategy to ensure everyone in Scotland is able to get the right help at the right time.

“Our strategy contains a number of actions to extend improved mental health training to those who support young people in educational settings. This project builds on the aims of that work and is a great example of the innovative steps we must take to create and protect good mental health across Scotland.”

SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson said:

“Going to college brings a number of changes to students’ lives and studying can be demanding, so we’re delighted to see this whole-college approach that prioritises student and staff wellbeing.

“Glasgow Clyde College is taking proactive steps to create a more open and supportive culture, and we hope that over time we’ll see staff and students more confident to talk about their mental health.”

Brian Hughes, Vice Principal, Curriculum and External Relations, Glasgow Clyde College, said: “We are immensely proud to be the first college in Scotland to implement such an innovative programme. Student welfare is of the utmost importance and adopting a holistic approach to mental health ensures our staff have the skills to support our students during difficult or stressful times, but it will also create an open dialogue on mental health across the College.”

Karolina Gasiorowska, Glasgow Clyde College Students Association President, said: “This is an exciting time for the College and its students. The Mentally Healthy College Community Project demonstrates the College’s commitment to creating a culture of acceptance and understanding for all of its students.”

[1] Mental Health Foundation. (2016). Fundamental Facts About Mental Health 2016. Mental Health Foundation: London.