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Therapy Team & Mental Health Support

The college counsellors can help support you to explore and understand what is affecting you and to find ways forward, including different ways of thinking or responding to how you feel. Counselling may help to resolve things or help to find better ways of coping with whatever is affecting you. Sometimes the counsellors may wish to refer you for appropriate support elsewhere in College, or to your GP or other local services.

The College counsellors are Rachel Cooper & Sarah Lock.

Rachel & Sarah are both registered members of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) with considerable counselling experience in schools, colleges, and other counselling services for young people.

Varndean College offers a confidential counselling service in line with BACP ethical guidelines. This means that what you say will not be discussed with anyone else without your permission. There are important exceptions to this if we have serious concerns about your safety or well-being. We always explain this more fully at the beginning of your first appointment.

The first appointment is an opportunity to assess your needs. Following this we will initially offer you a further 6 counselling sessions, usually at weekly intervals.

Appointments are available Monday - Friday in term time only from 9.20am - 3.30pm.

Mental Health Practitioner

Jack Stannard is our Mental Health Practitioner. He is a qualified Psychotherapist and works with students on strategies and techniques for emotion regulation and distress tolerance to help manage difficult feelings as they arise, using creative techniques such as dramatherapy and guided visualisation.

Where appropriate, Jack can liaise with outside agencies, including CAMHS, to signpost students towards relevant care pathways.

Contacting the Counsellors/Mental Health Practitioner

Please contact the therapy team directly by email to arrange your first appointment: therapyteam@varndean.ac.uk.

Who else can support you?

Please be aware that we may not be able to offer you weekly counselling sessions immediately after your assessment appointment, as demand for counselling in College is high. Waiting times vary throughout the year.

Please consider who else can support you while you wait for a counselling appointment. This might be a friend or family member, a tutor or someone you trust in an outside interest group. It may be another local service, or your GP.

Please see your GP if things become very difficult for you because of how you are feeling, thinking or behaving, and especially if you have thoughts about harming yourself.

You can also call any of the following helplines for information and support;

Brighton & Hove NHS Wellbeing ServiceThe Young People's Centre (YPC)YMCA Youth Advice Centre

E-motion online counselling service: www.e-motion.org.uk

If you are feeling suicidal, please call