What it’s like to go on a Mental Health First Aider training course

Published: Monday October 2, 2023

In September, Jo Sanders, from St Catharine’s, Gloucester, attended the Mental Health First Aider training course, run by the Diocese of Gloucester.

Having completed Safeguarding training, led by Becca Faal, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, earlier this year, Jo signed up to the Mental Health First Aider two-day course.

Jo says, “The Safeguarding training was really useful and is something I recommend everyone carries out, as it equips us to engage positively with the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults in both a practical and theologically informed way.

“Considering that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental ill health each year, the Mental Health First Aider training also felt like a course worth going on. We talk about our physical health quite freely but often there is a stigma associated with poor mental health and so the topic gets brushed under the carpet and people are not well informed.

“This was not a ‘light’ course and we covered many topics including inequalities in mental health; our ‘stress container’, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, depression, suicide and psychosis. A big theme was also about the importance of practising self-care. We learned how to recognise those who may be experiencing mental ill health and provide them with first-level support and early intervention, and then encouraging and signposting them to get the appropriate help.

“During the course we were taught about helpful and unhelpful language, and how this language affects attitudes towards mental health as well as an action plan to help people experiencing a mental health crisis or poor mental health. We also got lots of opportunities to see this plan in action as well as try out a few scenarios ourselves.

“Having now completed the course, I would not regard myself as an expert but I certainly feel in a more informed position than I did before taking the course and would recommend it to others.”

Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training programme offered free of charge through the Diocese of Gloucester Safeguarding team. This course is designed for someone who would like to take on a role after the course of promoting a positive mental health culture and being a point of contact if someone is experiencing mental ill health.

The next course should be taking place in April 2024. For more details, email ku.gr1719012516o.coi1719012516dsolg1719012516@gnin1719012516iartg1719012516nidra1719012516ugefa1719012516s1719012516


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