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10 Aug

Why we trained in Mental Health First Aid

In July, Yorkshire CCC’s charity and community arm, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF), hosted a 2-day Mental Health First Aid Training course. The course was funded by Yorkshire Building Society’s Charitable Foundation and delivered by the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

The course was funded through a donation from Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation. It is funded through their Small Change Big Difference® scheme, where members donate the pennies from the interest on their accounts just once a year to help smaller charities around the UK. The Charitable Foundation supports charities around the UK that work to alleviate poverty, improve health and save lives.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England’s goal is to have one in ten people across England trained in vital MHFA skills with the hope that together we can help improve the mental health of our society.

We spoke to Beth Cook, YCF Health and Wellbeing Manager, Charlotte Jones, YCF Marketing and PR officer and YCF Running Club Run Leader, and Sarah Moore, YBS Wellbeing lead on why they took the course and what they got from it.

Tell us about the course, what did it involve?

Sarah: The course was focused on providing exactly that: Mental Health First Aid. It was centred around how to provide support to someone who may be experiencing mental ill health and more so in urgent or emergency situations – by learning how to spot the signs of a mental health disorder and how to approach someone who may be going through it. The course highlighted that everyone can experience mental ill health from time to time but it’s important to know when and how to seek help.

Beth: We covered a lot! Throughout the two days, the key outcomes were how to spot signs of a mental health problem, building on and improving our confidence on how to approach someone, how to prevent ill mental health and stop someone hurting themselves, how to encourage people to get the help they need and learn about stereotyping and how to reduce stigma associated with mental health problems.

There were a lot of group discussions on different topics and role plays, which taught us to really focus on how we think and how we would resolve a given situation, whether that’s a good way to go about it or not and tackling common misconceptions around mental health. We also spent a bit of time thinking about our own mental health and learned ways to make sure that we considered our own wellbeing, as well as helping others around us.

What’s the first aid aspect of the course, how is it different to other first aid courses?

Charlotte: I think it really opened up everyone’s eyes to just how important mental health first aid is and what that really means. For example, if someone has attended a first aid at work course, they will learn how to give CPR in situations that require it but how many people would know what to do if someone is, in an extreme case, having a psychotic breakdown? You learn about different types of mental health disorders and which need immediate attention, and which can be tackled through longer term treatments, which is why it’s labelled a first aid course.

The training also covered how to spot signs of someone who might be living with a mental health disorder that you wouldn’t ordinarily know how to spot. This could be something that is really impacting on a colleague, friend or a family member’s life in a negative way, but you just aren’t aware. Taking this course teaches you not only how to spot the signs, but also how to approach the person who may be going through it.

Why did YBS and YCF take part?

Sarah: We’re passionate about promoting good physical, mental and financial wellbeing at Yorkshire Building Society and we have a developed a comprehensive programme for our colleagues. Our Charitable Foundation is funded by our members to support the charities which make a real difference in their communities. I’m delighted we’ve been able to work with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to fund their wellbeing training programme and it was great to be able to attend one of their sessions to share ideas and perspectives.

Beth: We have a range of projects that fall under our four core themes, all of which, work with people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. We invited coaches, projects leads and volunteers on the course because they work with people directly in the work they do.

What’s the best pieces of advice you took from the two days of training?

Beth: I think the most important piece of advice was that there is always hope for someone who might be experiencing mental health illnesses. There’s lots of help out there and it’s our responsibility, as mental health first aiders, to get this message across. It’s strange to think that people and organisations think of first aid courses as a necessity, yet only recently have mental health first aid courses become so important. The reality of it is that both first aid and mental health first aid courses have the same objective, to preserve life.

Want to know more?

To find out more about the mental health first aid course or to book a course, please visit the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board

To find out more about the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Health and Wellbeing work, Click Here

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