Community mental health programme comes to college

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Community mental health programme comes to college

22 February 2017

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We are playing a key role in a research project for the Department for Education looking into the effects of community learning on mental wellbeing.

The college is part of a research project scheme funded by the Department for Education to assess whether taking part in learning activities can alleviate problems such as stress, anxiety and low mood, and is being delivered right across the local area. People can sign up for courses on a range of topics such as stress management and confidence building, or a more typical course such as pottery, art or cookery – all the time keeping a check on the effect their participation is having on their mental wellbeing.

The initial evidence from the research indicates that taking part in community learning activities does have a positive impact on individuals mental wellbeing.

The courses are available to anyone aged 19 or over who has been resident in the EU for the last three years. People can either self-refer or be referred for the courses by a mental health support service. Anyone with mild to moderate symptoms such as low mood or anxiety is eligible – and encouraged – to sign up for a course over the next few months so that their progress can be monitored over a reasonable period of time.

The courses are designed to help people with symptoms including anxiety, stress, sleep problems, finding it hard to go out, and prolonged low mood and the end goal is to improve their mental wellbeing. Tutors will be helping in a multitude of ways, for instance teaching coping strategies, how to relax and release tension, or how to raise self-esteem; even simply learning a new skill, such as art or cookery, alongside other people may help volunteers in their journey to good mental health. 

Andrew Willis, Bracknell & Wokingham Head of Community Learning, said:

“There is already evidence to show that involvement in learning does help people improve their mental health, we’re excited to be part of this relevant research looking at improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. It is estimated that one in four people will experience mental health difficulties during their lives, but there is growing evidence that that figure is well below actual levels.

“More and more stressful lifestyles are making mild and moderate mental health issues very common – but as people become more open about this, more stigma is taken away and it becomes easier to get help. The research has support from the highest levels in government and also from local mental health providers have been very supportive of the project – and people thinking of signing up have told me it’s getting a good reception amongst people they have spoken to.”
For further information about the courses or to register please contact 01189847600 or email

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