Health and social care students learning about mental health on a laptop

Coleg Gwent students volunteer with Mind Matters

11 May 2021

Mind Matters is a Big Lottery funded project run by Volunteering Matters, that aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people through a volunteer training programme. The project equips 16-24 year olds with the knowledge and skills to deliver mental health awareness activities to their peers.

The Gwent Care Career Pathway have worked in partnership with Volunteering Matters to offer health and social care students at Coleg Gwent the opportunity to take part in the Mind Matters project to improve their mental health and wellbeing and complement their studies. The Gwent Care Career Pathway is a partnership that aims to support the development and recruitment of health and social care workers in Gwent. Partners include Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Coleg Gwent, Gwent local authorities and private providers of social care, who are all committed to developing a compassionate and skilled health and social care workforce.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people across Wales, with many feeling isolated and lonely due to national lockdown restrictions. Students have experienced repeated disruptions to their studies, and many have found it difficult to cope with changes to their learning environment and adjusting to virtual learning.

Volunteering Matters have been able to provide the Mind Matters training sessions to students virtually and have created new ways of delivering awareness activities via social media.

Casey, aged 16, is a Coleg Gwent learner studying health and social care level 2 at Torfaen Learning Zone. When she heard about the Mind Matters Project, she jumped at the chance to gain some extra knowledge and experience:

“It’s been great meeting new people and I think it’s already helped improve my confidence. It has been interesting getting to know some of the university students who are volunteering too, especially as we’ve all been through such similar experiences the past year. I have been finding it easier to have conversations about mental health with my friends, some have been really struggling lately and it feels good to offer some support. These sessions have already been useful to me personally and I think that what I’m learning with Mind Matters will also help with my future goal of studying A-Level Psychology.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, or starting a career in health and social care, then why not contact Volunteering Matters or take a look at the courses on offer here at Coleg Gwent!