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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS: Barrow Sixth Form College principal, David Batten, student union officer Matt Coward, student union officer Josie Field, member of Cumbria Mental Health group Furness area, David Ralph and development worker for Cumbria Mental Health group Furness area Wendy Kolbe

STUDENTS at Barrow Sixth Form College have an opportunity to discuss stress and other problems with sympathetic volunteers this week.

In this run up to the exam period members of Cumbria Mental Health Group will visit the college every day this week to remind students there is support available.

And it’s not just stress students might be struggling to cope with – there are experts locally who can help people deal with any problems, whether its worrying about relationships, pregnancy or addictions.

Chairman of the Furness branch of Cumbria Mental Health Group, Stephen Turner explains: “Our organisation doesn’t offer any service. It’s more of a listening service. Don’t feel alone. Come and talk to somebody and we can point them in the right direction.”

Cumbria Mental Health Group will be joined by organisations including CADAS, Stonham, DASH, SAFA and Mind, which all have links to mental health.

A display of celebrities who have suffered mental health problems has been erected in the foyer to try and end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.

In addition to leaflets and information to hand out there’s also a discreet contacts box for anybody requiring follow-up support because the volunteers understand how difficult it is to talk about private matters in public.

Furness development worker Wendy Kolbe said: “We wanted to show people we’re not a stuffy organisation. We’re people based. We will be getting people to question themselves, whether they’re stressed. It’s a good time for us to be up there with it being exam time and for them to think about their well being and what keeps people well.

“When people do feel really bad they’re not on their own, that’s why we’re showing them celebrities who have had mental health problems.

“They’re people who get on in life and are not stopped by what they’ve got.”

Cumbria Mental Health Group will be visiting Barrow Sixth Form College every day this week between 11am and 2pm to speak to students about the services on offer in the county.

Stephen adds: “(Student union representatives) Josie Field and Matt Coward have been such an enlightening couple to meet and have really inspired us, particularly Josie in the way that she’s approached this.

“They’ve been an example to the youth of today.

“I can’t say strongly enough how inspiring they are and I’d like to thank the Sixth Form for hosting us.”

For more information about Cumbria Mental Health Group contact Wendy Kolbe on 01229 826655, email Wendy.Kolbe@cmhg.org.uk or visit www.cumbriamentalhealthgroup.org.uk.

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