In my recent, former role as a head of service for a university counselling service, I was often asked whether I thought students present with more significant mental health issues than similar-aged people in the wider population. Certainly, in my counselling service, we found we were getting about 10 per cent of the student population attending each year. During the pandemic, numbers dropped slightly, but the complexity of issues increased markedly. But I know other services have seen an increase in demand.
Students have had a hellish time over the last year and a half. There has been a very limited ‘student experience’ as the vast majority of courses have been taught online and remotely. Many, staying at home, will have had to contend with difficult family dynamics or tricky living situations, while being denied the opportunity to create or cement relationships with fellow students.
I’m delighted to welcome, from Turkey, Turkan Dogan, who has written a fascinating article about students being part of the I-Gen, or Internet Generation. Whether you’re part of the ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘Generation X’ (like me) or ‘Generation Y’, we will have faced our own particular demands of the era. Turkan explores some of the issues faced by the I-Gen.
While each generation grapples with the developments of the day, students with particular mental health challenges have their own rivers to cross. I’m really grateful to Nicky Toor and Terry Hanley, who reflect on their important recent research, which explored how FE/HE counselling services can better prepare for and counsel students with autism.
Thanks also to Charles Gordon-Graham, who, as a counselling tutor, shares how he waded through the pandemic restrictions and limitations, to provide an effective and meaningful training experience for student counsellors.
Wellbeing and self-care have been high on the agenda during the pandemic, and I know that it’s not just students who have struggled. We need to be able to access appropriate and timely support when we need it, so we can better manage our demanding roles. In this respect, I’m pleased to present a fascinating pilot study, co-funded by BACP and the Association of Colleges, which tracked the supervision of mainly pastoral staff across 21 further education and sixth form colleges. Many thanks to Jo Holmes and Steve Page.
I hope you have had a chance to recover, recuperate and rejuvenate over the summer and I wish you well for the forthcoming new academic year.
Stay safe, stay well and look after yourselves.
Rick Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org