Tracy’s life on track with college course

A MANSFIELD student who suffered from severe post-natal depression has turned her life around with the help of a community college course.

Thirty-seven-year-old Tracy Street is making use of her own experience of depression as she studies on a counselling course at West Notts College.

Tracy began suffering from undiagnosed post-natal depression following the birth of her son 12 years ago - with the condition eventually diagnosed as clinical depression 18 months later.

“I just didn’t want to do anything,” she said “I didn’t want to go out or be amongst people. I really was at my lowest ebb.”

To mark Colleges Week, which runs until next Wednesday with a theme of ‘Connecting with Communities’, she has taken the opportunity to thank tutors and fellow students for their support.

She was persuaded to embark on a college course by counselling tutor, Nigel Cooper-Fowkes who had already helped her overcome the worst stages of her depression.

“Steadily my confidence started to develop and I found I was enjoying being with people, getting to know others at the centre,” Tracy said.

“Nigel noticed this change in me and asked if I’d be interested in enrolling on the college’s Introduction to Counselling course. My first reaction was ‘Me? But I’m the one having counselling!’

“But I plucked up the courage to enrol and that’s when my new life really took off.”

Tracy has now progressed to the level four therapeutic counselling diploma and also volunteers at Millbrook Mental Health Unit.

“If somebody had told me five years ago I’d be at college studying a counselling diploma, I wouldn’t have believed them,” she said. “I’ve been so lucky to have the support of my husband, tutors like Nigel and my fellow students.”

Now in its fourth year, Colleges Week showcases the vital role colleges play in providing young people, adults and businesses with the opportunities they need to succeed.

As part of the week’s events, pupils at Shirebrook Academy received a taste of the world of business when bosses at West Notts delivered a special masterclass on Monday.

Year 11 students how to write a business advert and how to undertake a staff disciplinary.

Find out more at www.collegesweek.org