“Building Your Mental Health and Self-Care Toolkit” Course – Sheffield Hallam University

I recently had the pleasure of delivering a great day of training to 6 staff members from the Humanities department of Sheffield Hallam University. The course attendees were primarily lecturers and readers working in the film studies and creative writing worlds, all of whom have close contact with students as part of their role.

The course was designed to strengthen their knowledge, awareness and confidence around mental health and well-being and to equip them with useful tools and resources to better look after their own mental health and well-being – and to help them to support their students. A key ethos of the course I designed is around being proactive and of having conversations about mental health and self-care with everyone rather than waiting until the point when problems arise or when people begin to struggle,

‘As the number of students considering higher education grows, we must anticipate mental health vulnerabilities by encouraging openness between staff and students to talk about these issues’

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/nov/26/bristol-student-deaths-highlight-campus-crisis-in-mental-health

I was thrilled at the openness of the staff who attended and their willingness to engage and share around difficult and challenging issues. One of the subjects I feel most passionate about – as a counsellor, a trainer and as a human being! – is the necessity of people being able to talk about their mental health free of shame and stigma. I recognise that as a society we have a way to go with this – but goodness, what a wonderful experience to be able to facilitate people feeling empowered and able to share. Thank you to Dr Emmie McFadden for suggesting this idea and for doing so much to make it happen.

Some feedback from attendees of the course is kindly displayed below, with permission:

“This is an excellent training course: comprehensive, insightful and enlightening. Polly is an engaging presenter and the materials provided will serve as a useful source of reference and support for staff and students alike. I strongly recommend the uptake of the course by other academic groups and departments, as it is not subject-specific and is suitable for any level of study or mode of teaching.”

Dr Sheldon Hall, Reader in Film and Television, Humanities Department, Sheffield Hallam University

“This is a fantastic training day. It is extremely well prepared, informative, and engaging. Polly is an excellent instructor who delivers pertinent information with confidence, enthusiasm, and warmth. The course booklets and materials are invaluable for my pastoral role in supporting students. It’s probably been the most important piece of training I’ve done in my professional career.”

Dr Emmie McFadden, Senior Lecturer, Humanities Department, Sheffield Hallam University

“I would just like to say how pertinent and relevant this day was. It was useful on both a personal and professional level. The day was presented in a really engaging and involving manner by Polly and she provided a wealth of information and advice. The day was free of jargon and emphasised common sense whilst providing strategies to further enhance our support for students.”

Martin Carter, Principal Lecturer, Humanities Department, Sheffield Hallam University

“This course offered a wide range of practical suggestions for both staff and students to monitor, understand and improve their mental health and wellbeing. I found the self-care toolkit especially useful; all of the advice and suggestions will be invaluable in my role as a course leader. Polly’s delivery was clear and friendly. Overall, it was a very worthwhile course and one that all academics, researchers and students should be able to access.”

Dr Harriet Earle, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Creative Writing, English Studies, Sheffield Hallam University

I would love the opportunity to deliver more courses like this. Please do get in touch if you are interested in working with me to discuss this further (crossgatecounsellingsheffield@gmail.com)

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