New mental health resources for FE colleges
Today, the Anna Freud Centre has released free mental health resources developed specifically for staff working in Further Education (FE) colleges, to support their students.
The resources were developed by the Anna Freud Centre’s Mentally Healthy Schools team with clinicians, and in consultation with college staff and experts, including the Association of Colleges. The five free mental health resources are designed for tutors and lecturers to support students on the following topics:
- Exam stress
- Unhealthy relationships
- Eating disorders
The mental health of students is a significant concern for further education settings. Around one in five 17- to 22-year-olds has an identifiable mental health condition (NHS Digital Report 2020), and 90% of colleges reported an increase in students diagnosed with mental health conditions in the past year (Association of Colleges report 2021).
The Association of Colleges report, based on a survey of 107 colleges, found that:
- All colleges reported having students with the following manifestations of mental health issues: self-harming, eating disorders, attempted suicide, and suicidal ideation/thoughts.
- 100% of colleges reported having students diagnosed with depression. 99% reported having students diagnosed with severe anxiety, 97% with bipolar disorder and 90% with psychosis.
- 85% of colleges reported an increase in students with disclosed mental health issues in the past three years – with 54% of colleges saying there were significant increases.
Jaime Smith, Director of the Anna Freud Centre’s Schools Division, says: “We know that there is a significant need for more mental health resources developed specifically for FE colleges staff and students. We’re delighted to release these new resources which provide clinically assured guidance and information for lecturers and tutors so that they can begin to discuss mental health issues confidently with their students and signpost them to support when they need it.”
Richard Caulfield, National Lead for Mental Health at the Association of Colleges, says: “Colleges across the country are reporting higher and higher numbers of mental health referrals and seeing increased complexity in the needs of their learners. Whilst there has been a deluge of excellent resources for schools, we often find they are not relevant to the post-16 sector. At the Association of Colleges we are delighted to be working with the Anna Freud Centre as they develop resources that are relevant to the college setting and help colleges provide the best possible support for their students at a time of greatest need.”
Jennifer Stead, Head of Pastoral Support at Salford City College, says: “We are seeing more and more young people experiencing a complex range of issues affecting their studies and day to day existence. There are rising numbers of students declaring poor states of mental health with anxiety, depression, identity issues and Covid adjustment being especially prevalent. Support for staff then, is absolutely essential, and resources that provide strong reference points and key information for a range of staff with varied experience are perhaps more important than ever.”