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Cath Goodfellow, our Learning and Development Business Partner, attended a two-day Mental Health First Aid workshop last week. Here she reports back on her experience!

I have recently attended a Mental Health First Aid two-day workshop. The introductory email explained that:

‘Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.’

I have to confess that I really wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would learn – would there be a Mental Health First Aid song like ‘Staying Alive’, as in other first aid courses? After the workshop, would I be expected to deliver therapy or counselling?

The great news (as well as there not being a song) is that I learnt so much and came away confident that I could help someone who needed it, without offering therapy or counselling. That is one of the big messages on this course: we are not learning to diagnose or offer treatment, instead it’s about recognising when someone needs help and knowing what to do next.

Our facilitators guided us through different situations: what to look out for, actions to take, and, equally important, what actions not to take. They also reminded us at regular intervals to encourage the person who is feeling unwell to seek professional help, as the important part of recovery.

It was fascinating couple of days; I feel better informed and confident that I can recognise the signs that someone is feeling unwell, and I now have some practical tools to help me to help others!

Those two days have also made me feel grateful for my own mental health and the health of those around me. I now find myself encouraging those around me to think about what they can do to keep themselves well, and ask for help if they start to feel mentally unwell.

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