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Students shine a spotlight on mental health

​Young people studying sport at the College of West Anglia have learnt more about the importance of protecting their wellbeing during a special mental health workshop organised in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

Around 85 students aged between 16 and 21 attended yesterday’s event, which was held at the CWA Sports Campus, based at Alive Lynnsport in King’s Lynn. Arranged as part of the student’s induction, it gave them the chance to discuss emotional wellbeing, find out more about the causes of mental ill health and learn more about how they can protect their own mental health.

The event also featured inspirational speakers with personal experience of mental ill health, including Stuart Oddie, who is now a peer support worker with the Wellbeing Service, and Dr Richard Gorrod, who is an NSFT service user governor who considered taking his own life as a result of crippling depression. Dr Gorrod is now working to raise awareness of mental ill health, particularly among men who can find it difficult to ask for help.

In addition, Gabriel Abotsie, Men’s Wellbeing Nursing Lead with NSFT, and Gary Freeman from Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, which offers a range of help for common mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety, also spoke to the students.

Although both male and female students attended the event, it was organised as part of a range of new initiatives driven by NSFT specifically to help men protect their mental health. Called the Men’s Wellbeing Project, it aims to encourage men of all ages to talk more openly about their emotions, improve their access to mental health services and promote education and social inclusion.

“We are really pleased to work in partnership with the college to arrange this important event for their students”, said Gabriel. “It gave them the chance to hear more about protecting their own mental health while also listening to some inspirational speakers.

“The day also gave students the opportunity to challenges stereotypes of masculinity, while showing them that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

“We hope that the students found the event useful and that it will encourage anyone who needs extra support to ask for it.”

Scott Leadley, Programme Manager Sport at the College of West Anglia, said: “It was a really informative and passionate session in which the students gained awareness of this very silent condition.

“If just one of these students gets help for themselves or a loved one, then these hours achieved their objectives. I will be looking to run follow sessions again and indeed this is the first of many such events that we hope to set up within the range of College of West Anglia campuses.”

Anyone who would like to find out more about the services available through Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, or would like to self-refer, can visit or call 0300 123 1503.

For more information about NSFT’s Men’s Wellbeing Project, visit

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