Mental Health in an Unequal World
Reasonable adjustments and equal support for students in our ever-changing world
World Mental Health Day takes place on Sunday 10th October; supported by the World health Organisation and mental health charity Mind. This year’s theme is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’.
Mary Kenyon-James previously worked as a Mental Health Nurse for the NHS as well as within the private sector. As Head of Student Experience, Mary is able to use her skills and experience to support the student’s mental health and wellbeing; her aim always is to inform, signpost and provide direct support.
As one of NMITE’s Mental Health Champions, Mary tells us how the information, support and services are available equally to all students.
All too often access to mental health support is defined by who we are or where we live, social inequalities are all around us and those who face the greatest disadvantages in life also face the greatest risk to their mental health1.
This year’s theme of ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ fits well with our commitment to widening participation, NMITE was built to solve problems and meet challenges and we’ve changed the landscape of engineering education to do that. We’re educating a more diverse, more capable generation of engineers who will challenge the inequalities that affect the mental health of so many.
At NMITE we recognise the need to promote well-being and provide an environment where people experiencing mental health difficulties feel valued and supported.
Providing information is a powerful tool in supporting people to look after their mental health and wellbeing. It is vital to offer information and support in a variety of ways to reach the widest audience.
A healthy work-life balance is essential. The last 18 months has been a challenge for us all, but particularly for young people who have had to make important decisions surrounding their education, including those who have now joined NMITE’s Pioneer Cohort. We know that, like anyone, our students will have good days (where they feel focused and satisfied in their achievements) and days when their mental wellbeing is not so good (they may feel low and lack motivation). This is when our students must be encouraged to access the support and services that the team at NMITE offers.
- During the application process, potential students have access to a one-to-one appointment with a member of the Student Support Team if they declare a disability or mental health condition. This allows for early understanding of the impact of the mental health condition and potentially - reasonable adjustments to be made to the admission process to ensure that the applicant is not at a disadvantage within the process.
- Every member of staff at NMITE attends mental health awareness training with a portion of staff trained to an increased level becoming Mental Health Champions. NMITE’s Champions possess the knowledge and skills to recognise and support people with mental health conditions.
- Mental Health Champions based in the Student Support Team offer time and expertise to work with students to develop a Mental Health Support Plan. A mental health support plan provides details of the students’ mental health condition and strategies used to maintain good mental health. Each plan also details strategies and contacts for when a student may have a period of poor mental health. With a students consent their mental health support plan is shared with relevant members of the NMITE team, which enable us to provide effective support with all aspects of student life.
- Rightsteps Wellbeing – is an on-demand health and wellbeing platform; it provides 24/7 online access to evidence-based health and wellbeing support to proactively tackle issues proven to negatively impact on happiness and health. Students can also access confidential counselling; this service is free and available to all students.
- MyNMITE is a bespoke on-line platform developed by the team at NMITE. The Health and Wellbeing dashboard provides information and signposting to both internal and external support for all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. Resources include Mindfulness, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Eating, Sleep Well, Physical Health as well as a Wellbeing Quiz. The Newsfeed for this dashboard is regularly updated with promotional information to encourage students to look after their mental health.
- NMITE have partnered with a local charity to offer discounted complimentary therapies to our students. Yeleni also provide the counselling service to which students can be referred by the Student Support Team at NMITE
- The NMITE Chaplain is a regular visitor on campus and can meet with students and staff as part of the wellbeing support available.
At NMITE, our hope is that World Mental Health Day is a day that makes us all consider our own mental health, how we can support those experiencing difficulties to reach out for help, and how we should all be mindful of the extreme challenges faced by so many people within our own communities and across the world.