Blackpool and Fylde College is England’s highest performing large college which caters for over ten thousand students. As part of their commitment to the wellbeing of their students, the college commissioned 2engage to deliver some mental-health awareness provision to all students. Research and numerous consultations were carried out to inform the production of an original piece of theatre production designed to address the difficulties students have surrounding their mental health and where to go when they need support.
Adult Young Carers.
A young adult carer is a young person aged 16-25 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. During research sessions with young people, it became evident that many young adult carers attended the college, most of which were unknown or had not reached out for support. Being a young adult carer can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence. Over 45% reported a mental health problem. (Carers.org). Many young adults in caring roles struggle to manage their education, working life and a caring role which can cause pressure and stress. Unfortunately, 29% of young adult carers drop out of FE and HE. This is four times the national average. In light of this, we used a young adult carers story throughout the session.
- Conducted a series of consultation and interview sessions with local young people, including young adult carers and students at the college.
- Research days with professionals, partner organisations and mental health charities
- Produced an original theatre production looking at the most relevant issues affecting young people. These included self-harm, the difficulty of speaking out, and a need to expose the life of young carers.
- Produced an accessible ‘forum’ version to run in sessions for students with additional learning needs.
- The sessions were attended by over 4000 students.
- Young people reached out to support teams within the college.
- We signposted support avenues for any mental health issues.
- Helped young people better understand their own mental health, and started important conversations about dealing with tough days.