Students and staff at HNC have completed a nationally recognised Level 1 certificate in Mental Health First Aid in a special workshop run in partnership with ‘Thinking Big’, one of Yorkshire’s leading training facilitators in mental health, health and safety and specialist health and social care fields.
Throughout the academic year we have been joined by Claire Wright, a clinical practitioner who specialises in mental health, from Thinking Big who has run a series of training sessions which has seen over 70 students and 5 members of staff earn their Mental Health First Aid accreditation after undertaking an intense 8-hour course. The course, which is nationally recognised, educates those who sit the qualification in a range of mental health conditions from anxiety to psychosis, and also aims to normalise conversations around mental health. During the course, students and staff learnt the theory and science behind core mental health conditions, from why they develop to how they could recognise key symptoms. They also gained an understanding of how to approach those in need as well as becoming aware of the power of language when supporting people in need, including tips to self-manage and how to signpost to professional help where appropriate.
After successfully applying for funding, the Student Wellbeing department was able to offer students and staff the opportunity to undertake this course without any costs, and now selected students who have undertaken the Level 1 course have been invited to progress their knowledge with the Level 2 qualification.
Lal Duncan, Student Wellbeing Officer, comments “The pandemic continues to impact mental health amongst our young people, and offering this training out to staff and students has been an integral part of maintaining positive mental health within our College community, especially when it comes to peer-to-peer support. It is important that we normalise asking those around us “are you ok?” and that conversations around poor mental health are open, so that we can support those in need and ensure that our friends and family access the help they need in a timely manner. These excellent courses, run by Claire, give our students and staff the knowledge and confidence to identify when someone may need additional support and to be comfortable with talking about uncomfortable topics. I am truly impressed by the commitment and empathy shown by those who have undertaken the training and know that they will use the skills they have learnt to support those around them”.