A new initiative to support and improve mental health amongst further education students is launching today at The Sheffield College.

Uniheads is an online mental health platform providing training, resources and contacts for support services. The aim is to educate all students on how to look after their mental health, where to seek support and how to have the confidence to do so.

The platform has been created by Champion Health, based in Sheffield, which specialises in online mental health training and resources for businesses and universities.

This is the first time they have launched the Uniheads platform at a further education college, with the content being co-created with Sheffield College staff and students.

The launch of the free resource, which has been developed with education, mental health, healthcare and digital professionals, coincides with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week from May 18th to 24th.

James Smythe, Assistant Principal for Student Experience, The Sheffield College, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our students is a top priority, particularly during these challenging times, as it has a profound impact on quality of life.”

He added: “We make a significant social, as well as economic, contribution to our communities by preparing students with the skills and confidence to go further in work and life. I’m really proud that we are the first further education college to work with Champion Health on launching this fantastic new resource.”

The Uniheads platform has five training modules covering topics including building mental fitness, looking out for your mates, signposting with contacts to other local services and a Covid-19 toolkit.

A free resource with unlimited access, it will be available to all students at the College, which has around 16,000 learners a year including 16 to 18s, adults and apprentices.

Harry Bliss, Champion Health Ltd Founder and Uniheads Co-Founder, said: “Right now, students are in need of innovative, proactive digital health and wellbeing solutions more than ever.”

He added: “We are delighted to partner with The Sheffield College and provide all of their students with access to mental health and wellbeing support through our Uniheads platform. They are the first pioneering college provider that we have partnered with and they have been closely involved in co-producing many aspects of the training for their students.

“As a business, social impact sits at the heart of everything that we set out to achieve. We are a Sheffield based company and it is a privilege to be supporting young people in our region to thrive academically and personally.  We look forward to working closely with the College and students for many years to come.”

The link between Champion Health and the College came about via Steve Manley, President of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce during 2018/19, who is mentoring Harry Bliss and his team.

Steve has also been instrumental in the opening of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Business and Enterprise Academy at the College earlier this academic year, which connects students with the wider business community.

Steve said: “The creation of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Business and Enterprise Academy, whilst I was President, was a fantastic collaboration. It is extremely pleasing to see the College now working alongside a local, young and talented entrepreneur Harry Bliss, whom I have been mentoring.”

He added: “It’s great to be able to connect the two so that the new mental health platform can have a hugely positive impact on further education students. I’d like to congratulate Harry and the College for pioneering this brilliant initiative.”

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