A company dedicated to helping improve the lives of those with mental health issues has staged an important event for young people in Cornwall.
Truro-based Quiet Connections, the company behind the ‘Time to Talk’ event at Cornwall College Camborne, is the brainchild of former student Hayley Stanton.
Hayley, who herself felt socially anxious and low in confidence while studying, wanted to make a change and with help from Unlocking Potential and Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs, set up Quiet Connections.
The ‘Time to Talk’ event was designed to help promote the issues and dedicated local support that is available to current students.
“I know from personal experience how tough all the social and performance situations you face in college can be,” she explained.
“I’d panic about small things, like walking into a room or being called upon to answer a question; I’d go to great lengths to avoid being centre of attention. If you don’t feel confident, it can seem like a never ending up-hill struggle and it affects everything you do.
“I was too scared to go to university and starting a career felt impossible. I thought I was the only one like this and became increasingly isolated. That’s why I decided to do something about it and open up about my own experiences, so that future students know they’re not alone; they don’t have to be ashamed and hide their feelings, and they can change.”
Mental health issues can effect anyone and one in four people experience some form of mental health issue. These challenges can strike when least expected and manifest in lots of different ways; often leading to significant negative behaviours, which can severely affect a person’s quality of life.
These issues are particularly debilitating for young people, who may not fully understand what it is they are experiencing, or more importantly what to do about it. Statistics show that more and more young people are struggling with a mental health problem, particularly with social anxiety and if left untreated, can lead to more complicated issues.
Fortunately in Cornwall we are seeing an increase in mental health awareness, with specialist organisations catering for the ever growing number of young people who often suffer in silence.
Ian Woodland, Student Liaison Office, Cornwall College added, “ As a major education provider in the county we recognise that students can experience a variety of mental health issues and we have a duty of care to ensure that we offer the appropriate support.
“This event is a way to celebrate ‘Time to Talk Day’ that helps break the silence around mental health problems and is an opportunity for the college to showcase the wide range of support services students have available on campus and with our external partners which include Quiet Connections.
“Hundreds of students have visited the event, it’s been extremely popular and demonstrates the need to ensure that no-one is ashamed, freighted or embarrassed to approach someone for help.”
The drop-in session included a number of activities and stands, where students could watch, participate or chat in relaxed and informal settings.
“It’s really important that students know that they can change the way they feel and achieve more than they ever imagined,” Hayley continued.
“We’ve had a very successful day today, with students sharing their challenges, talking about anxiety, hearing our volunteer’s stories, and being inspired learning about celebrities who felt just the same way they do.
“Cornwall College offers some great support for students and with more and more people supporting mental health, I hope that one day these experiences don’t have the stigma they have today. With more honest talking, empathy and support, we hope to change lives forever.”