Community mental health is improved through University of Sheffield student placements.

As part of their Psychology course, students from the University of Sheffield have provided mental health support and added additional resource to local charities and communities that serve across South Yorkshire.

Psychology students

This is a first-of-its-kind programme which saw sixteen students and nine organisations participating. The placement sessions were practical, hands-on and directly involved the local community. 

Third-year psychology students got the chance to put their studies and theory into practise as part of a module on their course, enabling them to interact with service users and help them gain skills necessary for their future careers. 

The placements lasted six weeks in early 2023, and the project connected psychology students with medical students, who had also completed placements at these organisations. 

Understanding the requirements for digital skills, helping with assessing access to mental health services in Sheffield, providing guidance and support, and co-creating resources and materials were among the services given by the students. The students' support was delivered to organisations that support housing, children and young people in need.

Additionally, students presented their findings to local organisations in an effort to enhance organisational outputs and help them identify problems and potential solutions so they can keep on working to better the lives of South Yorkshire residents. 

As part of the University's #MadeTogether programme, this new project promotes community building and health outcomes in South Yorkshire.

Psychology student Samuel Kensett said: 

"I chose the placement module because I wanted practical experience in a real world organisation, and I wanted to see how Psychology applies beyond the scope of the course. I gained a lot of confidence in speaking with new people and I also saw how my degree was applicable to real life. It has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of volunteer-led organisations which will be beneficial in any career."

Psychology student Natalie Maaitah said: 

"My experience at Israac was incredibly enlightening and one that I thoroughly enjoyed and will benefit from in any future career path. I am very grateful that I was able to sit in a room full of amazing individuals who have experienced a variety of situations but still manage to support one another and look after each other within the community. Not only did I get to learn about topics such as FGM and Autism within the Somali community, but I also developed great relationships with a lot of individuals at the centre."

The local organisations included were:

  • The Sheffield Foyer, accommodation provider for disadvantaged young people in housing need; 
  • Learn for Life Enterprise, a community hub providing teaching, support, stability and advice for vulnerable and hard-to-reach members of the community
  • Israac Somali Community Association, inclusive and warm welcome to the Sheffield Somali community
  • Step Out Sheffield, community group that facilitate health walks to support people with exercise and socialising need; This concluded with a written report ‘Investigating recruitment and retention of walkers and walk leaders at Step Out Sheffield’ which can be read here
  • Manor After School & Kids Klub, which provides a range of activities for children and families in the Manor and Castle area of Sheffield, including affordable childcare and short breaks for children with disabilities 
  • South Yorkshire Chaplaincy and Listening Service, aim to preserve and protect good physical and mental health through the provision of listening, chaplaincy services and confidential pastoral care 
  • International Mixed Ability Sports (IMAS) - Bradford. Disability, age, gender, background, and self-perception still prevent many from playing popular sports.  IMAS is striving to overcome these barriers.
  • S6 Foodbank, local foodbank and community hub.