Our ‘Meet the MHFA’ series, aims to help you get to know the dozens of trained Mental Health First Aiders we have within #TeamGateshead – serving to grow their profiles, create more friendly faces and provide you with more support networks when you’re in need.

The latest colleague to discuss their experience of Mental Health First Aider training is Catherine Wood, a Deputy Screening Midwife/Infant Feeding Midwife in Maternity who completed the training course back in January 2023.

Formalising support

When asked why Catherine had opted to take up the opportunity to attend a Mental Health First Aider course having spent two decades as part of #TeamGateshead, the midwife shared: “I decided to train to contribute to improving health and wellbeing within the Trust. I’ve informally supported both service users and staff with a variety of mental health issues throughout my 20 year career here at Gateshead, and the next logical step was to attend formal training.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the training, and it was wonderful to take part with such a wide range of disciplines and previous experiences present.

“The group activities were valuable to help put into practice the MHFA strategies, and the practical skills to spot triggers that can affect wellbeing were extremely valuable. This facilitates the confidence to step in to support and reassure a person whilst utilising the MHFA action plan.

Help reduce the stigma:

As Catherine signs off, she notes her advice for anyone else considering getting involved in Mental Health First Aider training.

“The Mental Health First Aider course increased my knowledge of and confidence in dealing with metal health issues.

“We need to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health and raise awareness for early intervention.”

Register your interest in Mental Health First Aider training:

Throughout 2023 we will be continuing to offer regular Mental Health First Aider courses. To express your interest and be added to a waiting list of colleagues who are looking to complete the two-day training session, complete our registration form. Alternatively, to learn more about the role itself, visit our First Aiders page or download the role description.

Finding a Mental Health First Aider:

A full list of our Mental Health First Aiders can be found on our Find A Mental Health First Aider page, providing you with contact details for all qualified MHFAs who can act as a point of contact for any employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

As #MeetTheMHFA unfolds, we’ll be updating the page to link back to these items – providing you with the chance to get to know a First Aider more prior to making contact, as well as looking at how we reformat the page to more clearly identify which MHFAs are from which business unit.