Best Practice

Preparing students to handle the mental health challenges of FE and HE

When students make the step-up to further or higher education they can face a range of challenges to their mental health. Clare Stafford looks at how schools can prepare their students to help them cope with these pressures.

Transitions between school, further education college and university can put pressure on students’ mental health, according to a report published by Centre for Mental Health and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT).

The report, Finding our own way (January 2019), explores the impact of transitions into and between further education and university on students’ mental health and looks at ways these can be improved. It finds that going to further education college or university involves several periods of transition, all of which can affect a young person’s mental health.

Andrew Reeves, director of colleges and universities for CWMT, explained: “The transition to university or college can create a perfect storm in the life of a young person, with its combination of a new level of academic pressure, the first move away from family and home, and the challenge of making new friends. For those who are already vulnerable to mental health problems, it can be a particularly dangerous time.

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