Married to someone in the healthcare profession, I have, over the years, picked up some rudimentary medical terminology. In pre-COVID days, I knew an LFT to be a liver function test, whereas today this seems to have been gazumped by the now more familiar lateral flow test. But perhaps after the festive season, I should reconsider the original LFT?
With a lateral flow test, we seek out a fairly black or white outcome, negative or positive. With our mental health, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a massive spectrum on which we all oscillate.
I’d really like to welcome and thank Anna Fisher from Nordic Model Now! Her organisation is a secular feminist grassroots group, campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices, and for the Nordic Model approach. About one third of its members have lived experience of the sex trade. Anna opens the door to a very closed-door issue, that of student sex workers. She calls for a greater understanding from therapists about how to support sex workers. A free online PDF handbook is available, as cited in the last reference within her article, titled Supporting Students Impacted by the Sex Industry: a handbook for universities. nordicmodelnow.org
We follow up from an article in our last issue, which focused on how counsellors can support suicidal students, with a fascinating and deeply personal response from Sarah Ashley, from the Charlie Waller Trust (CWT), who writes about supporting suicidal students beyond the pandemic. I’m really grateful for her insights and for giving me an opportunity to applaud and celebrate the work of the Trust. CWT has been heavily involved in providing resources to support students and I’m delighted to see an increasingly fruitful relationship developing with BACP UC. Check them out at charliewaller.org.
A similarly massive thank you also to Brian Turton, who, from a psychoanalytic perspective, explores the work of mental health mentoring. This role is gaining in popularity within our institutions, as an additional support service to mentor students with mental health issues through their academic requirements. Brian argues how mentoring and counselling, while different, can support the work of each other.
I’m really pleased to have interviewed Gillian Yorke for our Profile piece. Gillian is a counsellor at St John Rigby College. We get an insight into her fascinating therapeutic and personal journey. Working in FE can be very different from HE, particularly as many in FE work in relative isolation, with very limited resources. I know
the BACP-FE JiscMail community is a great resource to connect those within this sector.
I hope we can hear more from the FE sector.
In the meantime, as I tussle between choosing to take an LFT or an LFT, I hope you enjoy this issue.