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    Hi there,

    this is my first post, so a bit nervous, but you all seem very nice here so hoping people can put me at ease about this.

    Basically, I was a BA (Hons) Fine Art student and completed my first year with no problems. Then during the summer holidays I had massive repercussions of mental health problems and epilepsy, which meant I could not go back to do my 2nd year that September. I have since been diagnosed with schizophrenia, general anxiety and OCD which have had a massive affect on me (on top of epilepsy). It has been a couple of years since my first year, and I went in to the college to discuss going back as I am in a relatively stable position and want to carry on with my life.

    The staff said this is fine and have enrolled me on the course but it is under the condition that I had to apply for DSA to fund a mental health mentor to sit with me during lectures. (I would also get some exciting new equipment and software which will be arriving soon!) It is mainly the mentor/note-taker that I am worried about.

    I am incredibly worried about what this entails, whether the mentor is discreet or whether they would have some kind of uniform or ID card that shows they are a mental health worker. As it has been a couple years I will be studying with a completely new group of people and want to be able to make friends, I am very worried that people will wonder what is wrong with me due to this person.

    I do think it will be helpful as I did find it very hard to take notes and listen properly at the same time and my attention has gotten even worse since then.. but I am really just wondering how it works and what I can expect.

    The mentor is going to be from 'claro learning'. I haven't had one assigned to me but I will apparently meet them a few times before the course starts to check they are ok for me.

    I am very pleased that all this support has been put in place, but hoping that someone can tell me what it's going to be like and things like that.

    Sorry if i've rambled, hope this doesn't sound trivial or ungrateful!

    Thanks,
    Kassy x
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    Hey Kassy!

    It's awesome that you're going back to your course! Hopefully I can put your mind at rest a bit.

    The mentor is very discreet, they'll just look like an average person, they don't have a uniform or ID card, only the same sort of university ID that everyone else has. You don't even need to sit right next to them, they can sit a bit behind you where you're still in sight but don't feel strange having to have someone next to you. You don't need to worry though! A lot of people have notetakers and mentors for all sorts of disabilities, and no one will know why you have one (if they even realize it's a mentor/notetaker and not just another member of the class) unless you choose to explain it to them. In fact people will want to be friends with you so they can have a copy of the notes your notetaker took, because they are well qualified people who are very good at getting info down on paper
    You can also request the type of person that you'd like it to be, whether they're older or younger, male/female etc. Personally I prefer an older notetaker, who doesn't want to be my friend but just wants to do their job, but that's just me.

    hope that helps
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    What you will probably get is what is now called a specialist mentor. I currently work as one. We are not mental health workers as such in that we may not be qualified in mental health, may not have have expertise in mental health, and certainly won't conduct therapy (though one thing to look at in sessions is anxiety reduction and coping with stress). We seek to provide specialust support and mentoring that allows the student to overcome barriers to learning and meet his or her potential. Plain clothes will be used. The idea is for the person to blend in as much a possible otherwise I is obvious that particular students are receiving specialist support (as it is up to the student to decide to disclose to others).

    (Original post by feathergirl)
    Personally I prefer an older notetaker, who doesn't want to be my friend but just wants to do their job, but that's just me.

    hope that helps
    Hopefully a support worker on't want to be their service user's friend regardless of age, for that would be unprofessional and violation of boundaries.
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    Hi both, thank you for your informative answers.

    I am feeling slightly more at ease about it now, though wondering what I would say if anyone asked a tricky question. I guess I'll know more about it when I have met with the person and they will answer some of my questions too.

    Thanks for making me feel better.

    Kassy.
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    Hi, I have attended classes with students who had note takers and in the latter part of year one I was awarded a note taker. I found that most people don't even notice note takers and even if they do they don't normally make the connection with the student. You will make new friends and may feel secure enough to share some information with them. You might feel better if you prepare something in advance to tell others if they do ask. Note takers are a blessing, it really helped me and I am so glad I have this in place from the start of second year. Good luck, enjoy your return to uni


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