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Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Omagh Woman Overcomes Mental Health Challenges to Graduate

Aoife Glackin, from Omagh, has navigated the challenges of mental ill health to proudly graduate, marking a significant milestone in her journey towards personal and academic success.

Despite the obstacles posed by mental ill health, Aoife graduated with a Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) in Hair and Beauty Management from South West College (SWC) in December. Aoife's extraordinary journey from overcoming mental health setbacks to graduation to becoming a business owner is an inspiring story of triumph over personal adversity.

In 2016, Aoife started her educational journey at the SWC Omagh and Erne campuses by enrolling in beauty therapy at levels 2 and 3, as well as reflexology and later progressing onto the Level 5 in Hair and Beauty Management validated by the Open University. Despite encountering health challenges throughout her academic journey, which included multiple hospitalisations and the presence of Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), Aoife's determination never wavered.

Throughout her academic journey, Aoife benefitted from support from her tutors, as well as the College’s Student Support Services and the Health and Wellbeing team. Aoife's resilience, coupled with the support provided by the college, enabled her to excel in her studies.

Reflecting on her experience, Aoife is now speaking out to help others in similar situations by sharing her story, showcasing that regardless of your challenges, SWC is there to provide the necessary support for success.

Aoife said: “During my time at the College, I unfortunately became very unwell with EUPD, and I was in and out of hospitals throughout my studies. I made use of all the available support at SWC, and I honestly have nothing but praise for the lecturers and support staff. I am only where I am today because of the support available within the college.

"I am incredibly proud to have graduated, not only for myself but for everyone who faces mental health challenges. This achievement is a reminder that with perseverance and support, we can overcome any obstacle that stands in our way. I am grateful for the unwavering encouragement of my tutors, friends, and family who have been by my side throughout this journey."

“I want others who are apprehensive about enrolling in the College because of similar issues, to read my story and show that the support is there regardless of people’s situations.”

Aoife Glackin

Armed with her qualifications, Aoife has now established her own business called 'Calm and Contentment,' offering personalised health and beauty treatments as a mobile service, enabling clients to enjoy treatments in the comfort of their homes. Aoife’s business is growing each day and continues to thrive, fulfilling her passion for bringing calm and contentment to others.

Looking to the future, Aoife's ultimate career aspiration is to become a lecturer within South West College. She intends to pursue further training through the numerous courses offered by SWC and would wholeheartedly recommend SWC to others.

Aoife explains: “I honestly have so much thanks and praise for the College, and I would recommend SWC to everyone.”

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