Mental Health First Aiders!


29 April 2019 was the start of the Holistic Week for Growing Talent 21 Associates. It was also day one of the intensive two day global Mental Health First Aiders course – what a start!

The feature photo shows the newly qualified Mental Health First Aiders on completion at the end of day two. Alongside the Growing Talent Associates were managers from some of their employers and a Headteacher keeping everything in order!

We run this course for a number of reasons:

  1. To enable the Growing Talent Associates to look after themselves
  2. Give all a qualification adding to the global First Aiders brand
  3. Support early intervention by enabling early signs to be spotted
  4. Invite managers from the employers taking part – enhancing the working together ethos.

Although intensive, with a lot of concentration, there is also a lot of laughter, sharing experiences and talking openly about mental health issues – something we should all be doing – don’t you agree?

Working in groups as well as alone over the two days built the learning especially when broken up by a lush lunch!

Topics covered include the legislation of mental health and how the First Aider course began in Australia and spread to over 25 countries. This led into depression and suicide ending day one with the happiness hour. This entailed all attendees doing something exclusively for themselves – more difficult that you think especially for those with dependents, but an essential habit to develop for wellbeing.

Day two covered – amongst other things – anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, psychosis, action planning and evaluations! Exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. Difficult subjects learnt together.

I’ve been an Instructor for over 10 years and the development of the First Aiders course over this period by #MHFAEngland is astounding. You can see the change in the manuals from the thin version for a few short years ago to the robust current one in the picture Shennell sent capturing the difference from when she did the course originally some years ago!

So what did the guys think?

“I’m really proud of what I’ve learnt especially ALGEE with reflect back and how to adapt the breathing technique for those in distress”

“This course was amazing. I learnt the importance of reflecting back and can now support someone confidently”

“So much learning! Good to know a bit more about some of the different types of mental health”

“The main thing I learnt was understanding others experience mental health and how to help using the five steps (ALGEE) + reflect back.”

“I learnt so much that I didn’t know before. I will be using ALGEE + reflect back from now on”

“It taught me how to speak and deal with people that have mental health issues”

“I learnt how to identify warning signs in other people and would feel more comfortable helping to support others”

“Key standout points for me were ALGEE + reflect back, different types of mental health illnesses and symptoms. I feel I can now approach someone and help them going through a difficult time”

“So worthwhile. I gained more awareness and learnt how to deal with mental health issues”