Gateshead Health is proud to have doubled the number of trained mental health first aiders (MHFAs) within its workforce during 2023, with 47 colleagues from across the organisation completing training during the year. A successful development campaign means there are now more than 80 active mental health first aiders across the Trust, with more set to complete training throughout 2024.
The area of the organisation which engaged most with the training throughout 2023 was Clinical Support & Screening, with more than a dozen newly trained mental health first aiders now active within the team – figures which make them the most heavily populated business unit for mental health first aiders. In more good news, every business unit within the Trust is now home to a mental health first aider, although colleagues seeking support need not necessarily contact one from their own unit, of course!
Mental health first aiders are there as a point of contact for any employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. Providing non-judgemental listening, guidance and signposting, our first aiders are there as a compassionate friend when you’re in need.
Our training offer is expertly led by Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Sam Corcoran, who we are lucky enough to have within our Organisational Development team. Reflecting on the year, Sam said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has attended a MHFA England (MHFAiders®) course within the Trust this year and those who continue to volunteer in this role.
“Forty-seven colleagues from across the Trust completed a 2-day Mental Health First Aid training during 2023, with 10 colleagues attending a MHFA refresher training. With now more than 80 accredited mental health first aiders across the Trust, we’re playing a part to increase mental health awareness by encouraging more open conversations about mental health, helping to reduce stigma and ensuring colleagues are guided to the appropriate support available when they are struggling.”
Train as a Mental Health First Aider:
Planning is now underway to deliver more training sessions throughout 2024 – inclusive of refresher training sessions which are targeted to those who last completed their training more than three years ago, so if you’d like to play a part in helping us to continue to build a culture which promotes mental health awareness, please read on.
Mental health first aider training equips attendees with the skills to spot the signs of mental health issues and the knowledge to guide a person to appropriate support. Those who participate will:
- gain an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
- learn practical skills to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues
- be powered with the confidence to step in, reassure and support those in distress by using the mental health first aid action plan
- enhance their interpersonal skills, such as non-judgemental listening
- boost knowledge of further support, helping others to recover; and
- better your understanding of how to keep yourself safe while performing MHFA duties
We’re currently finalising dates for mental health first aider (and refresher) training sessions in 2024. To register your interest in a course and be added to our waiting list, please complete our sign-up form. We will contact those on our waiting list as and when we confirm dates.
New for 2024: MHFA Champions training for Line Managers
One area that we’re currently exploring for the new year is the introduction of regular MHFA Champions training, aimed at line managers. This course equips managers with the skills and confidence to spot when someone in their team is struggling – and know how and when to offer support. Those who participate will:
- gain the knowledge and confidence to provide mental health first aid for common mental health issues
- boost their understanding of how to help build a mentally healthy workplace, challenge stigma and support postiive wellbeing
- be given access to a workbook, reference manual and quick reference card for the mental health first aid action plan
We’re currently finalising dates for MHFA Champions training in 2024. To register your interest in a course and be added to our waiting list, please complete our sign-up form. We will contact those on our waiting list as and when we confirm dates.