The Students' Representative Council (SRC) has received £10,000 funding for suicide prevention training for student volunteers. Six volunteers in key staff and student representative positions will be trained in April and a pilot will follow shortly afterwards.
Owing to national concerns about student mental health, the scheme has been launched in conjunction with the Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm (PIPS). PIPS deals with mental health among students on spotting suicidal tendencies and how to aide those afflicted.
The grant has been secured by Awards for All Scotland, a charity wing of the national lottery.
Six volunteers in “key positions” will be given “Mind Your Mate” training before going on to train “hundreds of students across UofG campuses”, according to the SRC.
The SRC has worked with PIPS before for their “Mind Your Mate” suicide prevention scheme. According to the SRC, 99% participants in this previous programme would have recommended the scheme to others.
Training focused on several main areas including: identifying signs of depression in themselves and others, how to communicate safely and effectively with a distressed individual, and how to access or assist others in getting any additional help they may need.
The SRC reports that along with the success of seminars like “Look After Yourself”, a mental health discussion panel, and student interests in free “Exam De-stress” packs, there is a desire to expand its mental health programmes.
Erin Ross, SRC VP Student Support, stated: “We’re so delighted to have been successful in our bid for external funding. The next challenge is recruiting volunteers with the skills and motivation to help us take the project forward.
"From those dealing with the general stressors of University life to those in need of support around major trauma, the need to comprehensively address mental health on campus is clear. Equipping our students to intervene early may prevent someone from reaching a crisis point.”
Ross continued: " The ‘Mind Your Mate’ workshop which trainers will be equipped to deliver focuses on early intervention. The aim is to prevent students from reaching a crisis point, but also to prepare them should a situation get severe. Participants are trained to identify signs of depression and mental ill-health within themselves and those around them; to communicate safely and effectively with someone in distress; and to access or help someone else to access the support they need."