Bishop Grosseteste University has offered First Aid for Mental Health training to its staff for the first time.

21 members of the BGU community signed up to become First Aiders for Mental Health. Every member of staff across the University was offered the opportunity to enrol in either a Level 2 or Level 3 course with Firecracker, an organisation that works with businesses to help them see the impact health can have upon workplace culture.

The Level 2 course was delivered over one day and covered a number of health-related subjects including how to provide advice and start a conversation, and the impact of different mental health conditions. The Level 3 course built on this foundation of knowledge, and explored further topics including an in-depth analysis of various conditions.

The courses were delivered by Firecracker Founder and Senior Lecturer in Business and Enterprise Rachel Linstead. She has been a trainer for over 22 years and has a Masters in Workplace Health and Wellbeing.

Rachel said: "We all have mental health and it’s vitally important for everyone to understand what good and poor mental health looks like. The workplace is an ideal opportunity to give staff the tools to support themselves and their colleagues to ensure that everyone can flourish in and out of the workplace."

First Aiders for Mental Health (FA4MH) are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of common workplace mental health issues and know how to effectively guide a person towards the right mental health support. They are also equipped to promote a workplace culture where staff are free to discuss mental health issues openly and feel supported by their colleagues when they do so.

Staff from a variety of areas across the University signed up to gain these new skills, including individuals from support services, business and enterprise, CELT, members of academic staff, and the Students' Union.

Bishop Grosseteste Students' Union President Connor Short completed the Level 3 course. He said: "I feel that First Aid for mental health training is important for everyone to know because, much like in instances where physical first aid is needed, it can save a life.

"It is impossible to know if or when someone may need support, but having it available can make the world of difference for us all."

Following the success of the training, the University hopes to offer further opportunities to its staff to become First Aiders for Mental Health in the future.

14th July 2023

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