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Scout leaders have taken part in the island’s first mental health first aid course.
A total of 13 Scout leaders in the island attended the course which coincided with the end of Mental Health Awareness Week.
The two-day course, which is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid and leads to a recognised certification, was run by Manxman Jay Thompson, who is a mental heath nurse.
Kevin Brew, of the Isle of Man Scouts, said the participants were now qualified as mental health first aiders.
’Through this two-day training, these people have been armed with the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively guide a person towards the right support, be that self-help or professional services,’ he said.
’There is a misconception in most social and work environments that mental health must not be addressed by non-professionals, with worries of doing or saying ’the wrong thing’,’ he added.
Mr Brew said part of the training was to challenge this view and the course had used a variety of methods to do so, including case studies, videos, group work and individual reflection.
’Those who take MHFA courses are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.
’MHFA training also teaches people to look after their own mental wellbeing and spreads the important message that we all have mental health,’ he said.
’This is an empowering course that helps people understand how much active help they can provide. It is designed to plug the gap between preventative measures and medical intervention.’
Island Scout commissioner Guy Thompson said although all Scout leaders had completed first aid training, until now none had completed a course in first aid for mental health.
The mental health first aid course was first developed in Australia in the year 2000 and now is delivered in 23 countries.
For more information about mental health or mental health first aid training contact [email protected] or visit mentalhealthbuildingblocks.co.uk
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