AT the moment, many young people will be feeling disconnected from their usual support system of friends and wider family.

With exams being cancelled and final grades being assessed by teaching staff, students are facing uncertainty over their future, on top of continued academic demands. With a lack of structure, self-directed study, over-consumption of news from social media and a reduction in support, it is entirely possible that their mental health could suffer during this period of uncertainty.

At Glasgow Clyde College, we offer counselling qualifications, but we have also been providing a counselling service to our students for the past 20 years.

Normally students can use the college intranet to book a face-to-face session with one of our five British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) registered therapists to talk about anything causing them concern.

To ensure our students still have access to our support during the coronavirus lockdown, we have launched a phone helpline, staffed by our team of therapists and available 1-4pm, Monday to Friday. Students feeling vulnerable can phone for a chat with one of our counsellors, and if deemed necessary, we will be able to direct them to further support; whether a one-to-one video call with one of our therapists or signposting to an external service, such as Women’s Aid or

the NHS.

Our team of therapists are all trained in key mental health areas such as anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues. However, the counsellors are experienced in a range of specialisms including cancer support, employment law, issues of faith and spirituality, LGBTQ+, and support for carers.

To further bolster our mental health provision, this year we are working in partnership with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) to provide bespoke CPD sessions for our staff, starting next week.

The qualified trainers from CWMT will be providing courses in a variety of areas such as mindfulness, coping strategies and how to spot signs of stress. It is hoped that this will not only help with the mental health of our staff, but will also equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide support to their students.

As a mentally healthy college, we want our students to know that they can reach out for help for a variety of issues; mental health support is not just for those with a diagnosed condition. We are here to provide support, coping strategies, advice and guidance, all they need to do

is ask.