As well as having a Student Support staff to student radio of 1:7 Norland also has a fantastic student led Here to Hear team. On Time to Talk Day, we have asked them about their role, the importance of students looking after their mental wellbeing and how being part of the team has helped them when working with children.

What is the role of the Here to Hear team?

The Here to Hear team are a group of volunteers who have created a ‘mentee/mentor’ scheme to talk through any worries, queries or concerns that students may have, who feel more comfortable talking to a peer knowing that they will listen carefully and trust other people’s beliefs in a safe environment. The Here to Hear team have had specialised training from the Norland Student Support team and the two work very closely together. Sally, Set 41

Not only as Sally said we’re a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, but we hold events to create a calm, relaxing but fun environment for students to have a break during deadline seasons. We had an event where everyone came in slippers for the day and we had a chocolate fountain, and we raised money for the mental health charity, Bath Mind. Emily-Louise, Set 41

a group of students taking part in a mental health charity event

Why are you part of the Here to Hear team?

I am part of the Here to Hear team so that I can support and help other Norland students, not only in my own Set but in other Sets too, especially with the first years. Your first year of university can be a stressful time. Being a member of the Hear to Hear team allows me to offer support and advice to other students in any matter concerning Norland, whether it concerns academic work, life outside of college or simply being there to listen. Isabel, Set 41

How did you first come across the Here to Hear team?

I first came across the Here to Hear team when I was wanting to get involved in extra-curricular activities that would help other students in lower years. I wanted to make a difference in students’ lives, knowing I had some experience in working in partnership between a buddy and mentee, having done a similar student support experience when I was at school. I want to be able to build trust through understanding and respecting students’ feelings, establishing boundaries and talking through problems. Sally, Set 41

Norland diploma badge and certificate

How important is the Here to Hear team at Norland?

The Here to Hear team is extremely important within Norland. Not only is it a friendly face for the students to see but it then helps the students to feel comfortable to talk to one of us about any worries they have whether it is Norland related or missing home. I feel another reason why the students are comfortable talking to us about any concerns they have is that they know we have been in their situations. I also think the importance of Here to Hear team is having someone that the students know are there to talk to if they ever needed too. Charlotte, Set 41

How important is it that people speak about their mental health and wellbeing?

‘Time to Change’ states that on average one in four people will experience a mental health problem demonstrating that you are not alone. They explain how the best thing a person can do is support through checking in, listening and not judging and treating them in the same way as everyone else. Can you imagine if the three people surround that one person everywhere? Norland’s motto is ‘Love Never Faileth’ which is weaved throughout all our practice including each student and staff supporting each other. Our mental health is so important and despite what we all feel no one is alone. There is always a helping hand. Emily-Louise, Set 41

a heart that 'says don't try to calm the story, calm yourself. The storm will always pass'

Students have a lot of stresses and pressures, how important is it that they open up to someone if they’re struggling?

Opening up to others allows students to feel relieved and that they’re not alone when they may be struggling. Talking to other students and having someone there for you, listening to you allows them to feel there is always support available and where they may go for support in the future. Opening up and talking to others can also help students feel relieved. Isabel, Set 41

What advice would you give someone who is going through a difficult time?

My advice would be to find someone to talk about how you’re feeling. This could be a family member, friend or personal tutor, as I find speaking about it helps you to feel better which makes you able to find a solution. You could also write down how you feel into a diary as it may help you to feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and would have a clear head to figure out a solution. Phoebe, Set 41

Firstly, don’t worry! We all go through difficult times and often we end up stressing over the tiny things (I have actually cried over losing my lip balm!). But what makes Norland so special is the support from staff and students, so like Phoebe said, find and use that support if it’s through talking or writing down. The most important thing is being supported in that time but then finding a solution and being supported to get back up and face the difficult situation and overcome it. Emily-Louise, Set 41

a heart that reads try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud

Does being a part of the Here to Hear team help when you’re working with children? For example, listening to them if they’re upset or spotting signs that they’re struggling.

The Here to Hear team has definitely helped me when working with children. I think I have started to think about children’s emotions more without even knowing I’m doing it. It has also helped me with emotion coaching children as well as asking more open-ended questions to children for them to express themselves. I make sure that if a child is talking to me, I will get down on their level, so it makes the child more comfortable rather then towering over them. I have made sure that I am always listening to the child and waiting for them to finish fully before giving my response. Through being on the Here to Hear team, it has helped me not only recognise friends’ and other students’ emotions but children’s as well. The Here to Hear team has also helped me deal with certain situations as the training we get before joining the Here to Hear team has given us the right skills to help someone out professionally and give them the right help they need. Charlotte, Set 41

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