The Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health distance learning course at Leicester College is a three-part qualification which aims to develop students’ knowledge around children and young people’s mental health and how to recognise the symptoms associated with mental health conditions. I recently completed the course and it provided me with a thought-provoking and informative insight into the various mental health illnesses which can occur in children and young people and the psychological, emotional and physical effects the illnesses can have on them. I started the qualification because in my job role, I, unfortunately, meet many young people and their families who have been affected by poor mental health and I wanted to gain a better understanding of how mental health illnesses can affect a young person. Above all, I wanted to learn strategies which can be used with young people to help them feel more at ease and to increase the effectiveness of a careers interaction.
The course covers the following units:
- Understand children and young people’s mental health in context
- Understand factors which may affect children and young people’s mental health
- Understand children and young people’s mental health concerns
- Understand the impact of children and young people’s mental health concerns
- Understand how to support children and young people with mental health concerns
The distance learning course begins by asking you to identify the various legislation which supports mental health services for children and young people in the UK. You will also be asked to research and describe the many factors which can contribute to the development of mental ill health in both children and young people; you will also investigate how mental health is depicted in the media and the way in which it can influence our prejudice, stigma and stereotypes of individuals with mental health concerns. You will then research the many mental health illnesses which can affect children and young people and their impact on individuals, their families and their wider social network. Contemporary issues such as social media, cyber-bullying, FGM and grooming are also covered. The last part of the course will ask you to explore strategies to help children and young people deal with and potentially overcome their mental health concerns.
Professionally, I have learned how important it is for young people to be offered a service which is welcoming, inclusive, sensitive, non-judgemental and above all, is person-centred so that it places the young person at the heart of the interaction. I am also more aware of external services which can help support young people with mental health concerns. Admittedly, it is not always comfortable learning about the factors which can trigger mental health illness in children and young people and the trauma they can subsequently inflict, but it is necessary to be aware of these issues and the part we all play in helping children and young people to develop into resilient, confident and content adults.
As with any distance learning course, it takes time and effort to conduct the necessary research to complete each unit, but the learning is extremely rewarding and the knowledge gained can be applied accordingly.
If you would like to discuss the distance learning courses available at the college and which course might best suit your requirements, you can see a Careers Advisor at the college who can support you in your decision-making. Give it a go!
By Sonia Riyait