Two local teachers, Helen Banks and Collette Watts, have recently become Mental Health First Aid instructors. In order to do this, they attended a seven day training programme which is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health.
Young people’s emotional health is just as important as their physical health but information and support for mental health is harder to come by. Mental Health First Aid England report that 10% of children (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosable mental healthissue. The wider vision of MHFA is to normalise society’s attitudes and behaviours aroundmental health, by developing the skills we need to look after our own and others’ wellbeing.Helen and Collette want to empower people through education to care for themselves and others, especially young people on island.
Helen and Collette will be running courses throughout the year to enable professionals’ on- Island to become Mental Health First Aiders. The course teaches you the skills and confidence to spot the signs of mental health issues in a young person, offer first aid and guide them towards the support they need. MFHA aims to give delegates the information and skills to look after their own mental health so that they can set an example for young people. A group of 15 professionals have completed their training today.
Helen Banks, Mental Health First Aid Trainer, said
‘We know that, on average, 50% of mental health issues are established by age 14, and 75% by age 18, which means as teachers and other professionals working with young people, we are not only privileged, but optimally placed to deliver both proactive early interventions as well as crisis management support. I had already completed a postgraduate degree in Child and Adolescent Mental Health but this MHFA course is the most accessible training and upskilling package I have seen, and I’m excited that Collette and I have got the opportunity to deliver these courses in Guernsey.
Collette Watts, Mental Health First Aid Trainer, said:
‘Like Helen, I am very excited to have been given this opportunity to deliver the MHFA course. We have learnt that 10 years is the average delay in a person first showing signs of mental ill health and getting help this is why it is so important to recognise the signs and reduce stigma and discrimination.’