FE News | Children’s Mental Health Week: UKSA reports 32 percent of FE students take up mental health support

FE News | Children’s Mental Health Week: UKSA reports 32 percent of FE students take up mental health support

Ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week (6-12 February 2023), UKSA reports that almost a third of its postgraduate students have required mental health support from the Isle of Wight charity since their courses began in September 2022.

The charity, which has dedicated welfare officers and provides mental health first aid training to other organizations, has supported 23 out of 73 students on a 1-2-1 basis at its Cowes headquarters and has worked with 11 different outside agencies since the beginning of the academic year to ensure that each young person has received the best support for their needs.

As a provider of life-enhancing water-based adventure, education and world-leading maritime training for careers at sea for over 35 years, UKSA has a strong focus on improving the mental health of young people. It has continued to solidify its commitment to the cause with an approach that puts the well-being of its students on an equal footing with the attainment of their qualifications.

UKSA CEO Ben Willows said:

“Now it is more important than ever that young people have access to support when they need it. The commitment we have shown in prioritizing mental health among our own team, visitors and students demonstrates the importance we place on their mental wellbeing while staying at UKSA. We don’t just focus on the hard skills required to pass qualifications. Developing life skills is a key part of UKSA’s goal, alongside building confidence and resilience. We are fortunate to have the support of The Seafarers’ Charity who fund two charities on our team and provide vital pastoral support to our young people.

Kim Fry, UKSA Safeguarding and Welfare Manager said:

“We have now trained 29 staff at UKSA to become mental health first responders and offer seafarers mental health awareness training to all our students on vocational courses. The number of young people seeking support from UKSA has increased but we are confident that the support on offer and our more formal mental health and wellbeing framework in our training have put UKSA in the best position to support anyone who is she needed. By having dedicated social workers and having so many mental health first responders on site, we make sure everyone feels comfortable reaching out to those who can help.”

In 2022 the UKSA appointed British sailor Dee Caffari MBE as its first Youth and Mental Health Ambassador in a newly created role to raise awareness and find solutions to help young people support whole mental health, when they fall below the poverty line and have less time outdoors, school closures and reduced job prospects.

Last year the charity launched a mental health first aid course for all Isle of Wight businesses and employees to benefit from and was nominated for the IW Chamber Business Awards.

UKSA offers activities to young people of all abilities to help them learn life skills in a thriving and safe environment. Its bespoke programs are designed to build confidence and encourage teamwork, using water sports and the great outdoors as a catalyst for positive outcomes. The funded Sea.Change Foundation Program is aimed specifically at 14-17 year olds and gives teenagers the opportunity to learn about training and careers in the maritime sector during a five-day stay during the school holidays. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are also offered the opportunity to develop important life skills and make new friends through the programme.

For more information about UKSA, visit www.uksa.org.

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