Making the transition from high school into further education is challenging at the best of times and can take its toll on mental health.

Students and staff at two Greater Manchester colleges have been talking about their experiences in a new video by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, which is supporting the city region’s pupils through its mental health in education programme.

The video really highlighted the pressures on young people, particularly those with additional and more complex needs.

Sarah Henson, pastoral coach at Worsley College, said: “Colleges are a lot more aware of the fact that students need to be supported not only in their education but with everything else that surrounds them in their life. Especially with the effects of COVID-19, people are more anxious.

“Pupils have been at school for so long and it’s very different at high school as there is a lot of structure, they have uniforms and they know what they’re doing and when they are meant to be doing it.

“But when it comes to college, they have to decide what they want to do – the emphasis is on them to make those decisions which can put a lot more pressure on them and it can be a really big step for some people.”

Amy Carrick, student support coordinator at Bridge College in Openshaw, added: “A lot of our learners have quite complex needs which can make transition a worrying time for them, and their families.

“It’s especially worrying if they’re leaving college and transitioning into social care, which is a whole new world for them. So I spend a lot of time easing the anxieties of families.”

Lucy, a student at Worsley College, explained how she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her future and that reaching the transition milestone adds a level of pressure.

She said: “Students probably realise how quickly time flies by. As soon as you’ve done your exams in Year 11, you’ll have Prom if you decide to go, and before you know it you’re in college. I was 16 when I started here and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.”

Find out more about the investment being made in the mental health of children and young people by GMHSCP here: