We met up with Chloe Dench, a facilitator at Positive Minds, to talk about all things mental health and how you can access their great support service...
What is Positive Minds and what are your aims?
Positive Minds is part of Student Minds Nottingham. Student Minds as a charity aims to get students talking about mental health, as we all have mental health and it is important to know how to talk about it. Positive Minds builds on this, by running a peer-support group for students with low mood and providing an open and safe environment for such conversations.
What sort of work do you do?
Positive Minds is a specific part of Student Minds – we run peer-to-peer support sessions for students who are experiencing low mood and mild depression. We run the Positive Minds course, which is 6 weekly discussion sessions covering themes such as sleep, exercise and social contact.
How can students access the support?
Students can come along to our weekly sessions on Tuesday 1st May, Tuesday 8th May and Tuesday 15th May starting at 6:30pm in Trent Building, LG9. It is most beneficial for those experiencing low mood and mild depression, although it is open to all students aged 18 or above. No booking is required for University Park. We will also be running the group again next year, so keep an eye on the Student Minds Nottingham Facebook page for more information.
There is also a short course running on Sutton Bonnington Campus on Mondays, bookable through firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you get involved in the project and why?
I found out about Student Minds through a meditation session they offered during my first year and then I saw the facilitator position advertised on Facebook. No other support service focuses on the incredible benefits that peer support can have on creating an understanding of mental health within the university,
A lot of students face mental health difficulties whilst at university, but it can feel difficult to open up to other students and know how to access support, so we give students more information on where they can get help. Positive Minds is such a supportive group and it’s a privilege to work with people who really care about mental health and taking positive action.
What is required of facilitators?
Facilitators run the sessions, which involves working in a group to organise the practical details and publicise the group. We then take turns to run the actual sessions, directing and overseeing the conversation, making sure the group maintains a positive atmosphere. Occasionally, we run additional peer support workshops, such as Supporting Supporters, but for these we receive additional training and ongoing support.
Whilst we do receive a lot of training, we are not trained counsellors or therapists qualified to give advice. Instead, we are students who are there to listen, shape the discussion and offer signposting where necessary. It doesn’t require you to have extensive knowledge in psychology or anything like that – I’m a history student for one thing - and just being a student means you have some of the skills necessary for the role!
The role really is what you make it! There are always opportunities to get more involved with the charity, but likewise, it is not a huge commitment on a weekly basis.
How can others get involved?
We are currently recruiting new group facilitators. Applications open Monday 30th April and close Sunday 20th May 2018. More information can be found here http://www.studentminds.org.uk/applytobeapeersupportfacilitator.html
Images - Positive Minds