Introducing the Bridge Network from the School of Health Sciences

Summary

In partnership with the Institute of Mental Health Peer Support Education Team, students and staff at the University of Nottingham’s School of Health Sciences are launching a brand new initiative to support the mental health and wellbeing of students studying within the school.

In recognition of the specific challenges faced by people studying to be healthcare professionals, the ‘Bridge Network’ is being created. The network aims to set up peer support groups led by student peer facilitators; meeting with each other and providing a safe space to gain support and talk about mental health.  Peer facilitators will receive accredited training and supervision for this role.

Students are at the heart of this project and the network will be developed and run by student peers from the School of Health Sciences who themselves have experienced mental health challenges.

 

Background and Plans for the Project

The number of students who experience mental distress is increasing and universities are having to develop new and innovative ways to support these students.  Healthcare courses involve working in health care settings which can place additional pressures on students in terms of hours, assessments, professional body requirements and the emotional strain that comes with healthcare work.  In light of this, the Bridge Network is a student-led initiative designed to meet the needs of this student group.

The network will not only allow students to share experiences, but will equally provide a space for students to support one another, to increase their self-confidence, to build connections and gain a sense of belonging; supporting students to maximise their achievements at University.

Sabrina Carter is a final year BSc Mental Health Nursing student who has increasingly worked alongside a number of peers who have experienced or continue to experience mental health difficulties. One thing that has become apparent to her over the years is the need for a comfortable and supportive space for health science students to come together to talk about mental distress in a way that empowers each and every individual.

Dr Anne Felton, an Associate Professor in Mental Health, has worked in mental health nursing for 15 years. She has seen the successful growth of peer support approaches in health care; involving people with their own experience of mental distress using these experiences to challenge stigma and positively impact on others.  She has worked in alongside Sabrina to create the plans for the Bridge Network.

The University of Nottingham Cascade Fund has pledged £6,000 towards the initiative if the Network can raise £1,000 through Jumpstart, the University’s crowdfunding platform.

The money raised will go towards providing;

  • Five day accredited training programmes for student peer support facilitators
  • Peer support student learning guides
  • Peer support training resources
  • Provision of supervision for network facilitators
  • Conference fees for two students to attend a national conference to present the project

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

If you would like to make a donation to support this fantastic project, please follow the link to our crowdfunding page: https://jumpstart.hubbub.net/p/thebridgenetwork/

For more information, please contact:

Anne Felton     Anne.Felton@nottingham.ac.uk

Sabrina Carter sabrina.ph.carter@gmail.com

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