Moulton College rolls out Bloom for positive mental wellbeing

From this September onwards, Moulton College in Northampton will be rolling out Bloom, Mental Health UK’s resilience programme, to over 600 students. Pastoral Officer Jess Lygo shares her experience of co-delivering the programme last spring before taking action to sustain Bloom to support all 17-18-year-old animal welfare students.

Co-delivery, happy students and technology blips

“We planned to deliver Bloom during a lockdown and all sessions were going to take place remotely as part of the home-learning plan in place for students. However, after our first session, schools and colleges returned to face-to-face teaching and therefore we had to quickly adapt the programme to in-person delivery for the students. Our Bloom Associate Kate joined us remotely for the remaining sessions. We delivered the sessions to 25 students who had received a pack with resources in the post before the start of the course. I believe this made them feel part of something a bit special. Engagement and attendance were incredibly high throughout the course which I feel highlights the relevance and importance of the content. The biggest learning curve throughout was working with face-to-face delivery in the classroom with an external party joining us remotely. We occasionally had technology blips, which made co-delivery slightly more difficult than it would have been in person.

Learning from the Bloom trainer

Our Bloom Associate Kate was great at making us feel supported, I learnt that it’s OK not to know all the answers, its OK to be honest and open with the students about that and to go away and find out or do further reading myself to learn the answers. Having Kate to co-facilitate the sessions with us really helped to build our confidence with the content and the support she gave was invaluable.

Bloom’s best bits and the importance of sustaining the programme

What we enjoyed most about Bloom is that it discusses mental health without stigma. It talks positively about having tools and strategies in place to deal with life’s challenges and setbacks. By being scenario-based, it allows students to have discussions, to hear other’s points of views and to share their own views and experiences without judgement or feeling too vulnerable to do so. The topics are easy to engage with and all examples are relatable to the age group.

As the pandemic continues, it is even more important to ensure young people have the skills and tools to be resilient given the growing mental health needs among young people. Next academic year we will be rolling Bloom out to all Animal Welfare students from Level 1 – Level 3, second year students. This will total over 600 students. We will also offer the programme in other areas of the college. All of our Pastoral Officers have completed Bloom online teacher training in order to deliver this to their students.

The final word on Bloom

Feedback from students who completed the course has been incredibly positive. They engaged well with the topics and have their workbooks to refer back to if needed. It is a very worthwhile course to enable students to build resilience and develop tools to look after their mental health. Particularly in the current climate where we have seen a significant increase of mental health concerns with young people, this course will help students by giving them lifelong skills to build positive mental wellbeing and develop coping strategies.”

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