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100th Mental Health First Aid Champion trained through new programme

The Trust are thrilled to announce that we trained our 100th Mental Health First Aid Champion through our innovative community training programme during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Funded by NHS Charities Together in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, the programme follows the development of Springfield Hospital’s two new state-of-the-art mental health facilities, which now sit prominently at the centre of a growing new community called Springfield Village. The village is made up of over 800 new homes, a public square, retail outlets and a 32-acre park.

Trust Chief Executive, Vanessa Ford, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to train as a Champion so far – we know that early detection and intervention saves lives. As a society, we don't always know how to take care of our mental health like we do our physical health. This means that people may not know how to support a friend, family member or colleague experiencing a mental health issue, or where to go for help with their own mental health. This programme is ensuring that more people in our community are equipped to make that early intervention. We set out to build a community with mental health at its heart at Springfield Village and this programme is testament to our ambition."

Designed to break mental health stigma, raise mental health awareness and improve mental health literacy, the overall programme will provide around 400 places across 20 mental health first aid courses.

One resident who was among the most recent cohort said: "My overall experience of attending this course is very positive and I am extremely grateful to have attended. From looking at what mental health means to me, to learning about depression, eating disorders, psychosis, the early warning signs of mental ill health, the action points, everything was covered in such an empathetic, professional way. The sheer volume of what was covered was excellent. Huge thanks to Kathryn for making it so accessible to me."

Following the success of the initial launch of the programme, the Trust has identified colleagues who may also benefit from undertaking the training as part of their roles.

Melissa Fulcher, a Trust Employment Specialist who was among the cohort with the 100th participant said: "I found the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training particularly useful as it enabled me to develop strategies and techniques to have supportive conversations with individuals who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or who are in distress. I now feel more confident offering support to someone in distress."

The course provides an understanding of common mental health issues, skills and information to support positive wellbeing, and knowledge and confidence to spot signs and symptoms and of mental ill health on a first-aid basis – and qualifies delegates as MHFA Champions.

Isabelle Hartley, Client Lead for the Trust at Mental Health First Aid England, said: "It has been wonderful following the impact this training programme is having on the local community in South West London. The feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive and it is clear individuals are learning key awareness, knowledge and skills to take forward into their own lives, support others and ultimately create a better community around them."

To ensure sustainability of the programme in south west London, we will be identifying someone to undertake the trainer programme which will embed this offering on an annual basis.

To find out more or sign up for future dates, please click here.


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