As many of you know, during lockdown I have been unable to run face to face courses in First Aid and this has been really hard on me. I love what I do. I love giving individuals these vital basic lifesaving skills and the confidence to help the people around them should they have an accident or incident either at work or at home. My ‘other’ job, as a freelance event manager, which supplements my income, was also cancelled, and combined with my son needing 100% of my attention due to his nursery closing, it has definitely been a tricky time.
I know that so many people have been through similar situations; having to work from home when they aren’t used to it or perhaps without the best infrastructure around them, having children at home and having to juggle home schooling with getting work done or being furloughed or made redundant. It is really tough, and unfortunately, we are not through it yet.
With these challenges all in mind, it is more important than ever that we look after our mental health – it really is taking a battering at the moment – and this is one of the many reasons I decided to train to become First Aid for Mental Health instructor last month.
What is First Aid for Mental Health?
A very good question I am hearing you ask! The first thing to think about is the fact that everyone has mental health. Your mental health is all about how you think, feel and behave. When we have a mental health problem, the way we think, feel and behave changes and can affect our day to day life.
Here are some big stats for you:
- 1 in 4 people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their life
- 1 in 6 experience mental health problems in the workplace
- In 2018, in the UK, there were 595,000 cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety, leading to 15.4million working days lost
First Aid for Mental Health is about being the first point of support for someone dealing with a mental health problem helping to stop them putting themselves into danger, providing comfort and support, having non-judgmental conversations and signposting them to professional support as required.
It is not about being someone who can diagnose a specific illness, this takes years of training and is a very specific skill and it is not about giving medication.
Who can be a First Aider for Mental Health?
The honest answer is everyone really should be. If you work in a team or an office environment or if you live in a community where you know your family and/or neighbours fairly well you can be a first aider for mental health. Because of the amount of stigma or perceived stigma around mental health, very few people will tell you how they are feeling without being prompted.
This is where work colleagues and community become so important. If you work closely with someone, even if it is currently remotely, you will get to know them as a person. You may therefore see or hear things they do or say and notice if it is out of character. With a First Aid for Mental Health course in your back pocket, you will feel comfortable opening up a conversation, trying to support them and getting them the help needed.
What are the First Aid for Mental Health courses I run?
I am running three different courses, all through Nuco, my affiliated training provider and all Ofqual regulated.
Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health (Level 1 award)
This is a short, half day course, designed for every single person within a business.
It is, as it is aptly named, an awareness course so it is all about giving participants an understanding of mental health and mental wellbeing and an understanding in what to look out for with certain illnesses such as stress, anxiety, depression as well as advice on how to support or advice people around you if you think they need help.
First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 award)
This is a one-day course, designed to be the next step on from awareness. This course offers the same elements as the awareness course but also covers the additional subjects of drug and alcohol abuse and discusses the strategies and action plans that should be put in place within businesses around mental health, along with ways to implement a positive mental health culture in the workplace.
This course is great for your decision makers within the business to have an understanding of mental health and take a strategic approach to the subject.
Supervising First Aid for Mental Health (Level 3 award)
This is a two day course, going into a lot more detail on all things to do with First Aid for Mental Health. The course covers all the elements on the level 2 course but then goes in depth on a number of mental health conditions giving the participants a greater understanding of a variety of areas.
This course is ideal for those who have a passion for mental health and those who will be the people who discuss issues with staff within the business and offer support and guidance to them.
How do I run these courses?
These courses can be run in person or online. The online courses are shorter than the in-person course but need the learners to do some self-study too. All the courses have an assessment at the end to gain the qualification.
With the majority of people still working from home or being furloughed and having a bit of time on their hands, the online version of the course is where I see people will get the most benefit right now.
If you would like more information on First Aid from Mental Health courses or discuss how I can make a course work for you please pop me an email, I’d love to support your team. firstname.lastname@example.org.