Peter Shaw, a former student who experienced mental health issues at a sixth-form college as well as a general FE college, feels the support on offer at both was inadequate.
“I can’t remember any support being available at all,” he says.
Shaw suffered his first panic attack just before an exam. “It was my first big attack and I wasn’t sure what was happening,” he recalls. “It happened at college and there was no one there to talk to about it. I’m not sure I would have felt able to anyway.”
Shaw missed the exam and did not admit to the panic attack. He says: “I felt a lot of shame around not being able to get on with my exam.”
It was not until he went to university that Shaw was able to access mental health services, following the death of his father.
“I’m a big fan of having mental health services available on site at college,” he says. “That was really good when I was at university. Having a personal tutor at college who is mental health trained – someone you could approach to talk to – would have helped.”