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Mental Health First Aid – Bath Spa University

Bath Spa trains 65 staff as Mental Health First Aiders

Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

Bath Spa University is taking steps to further support the wellbeing of its staff in the workplace and fight the stigma around mental health, by offering accredited mental health training to its employees for the first time.

In just four months, 65 employees from across the University have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders, acting as a first point of contact, and offering an informal and confidential chat for employees who are experiencing a mental health issue. The first aiders have been trained to spot the symptoms and provide support for colleagues experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and psychotic episodes.

Staff are now equipped with the knowledge to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. Mental Health First Aid doesn’t replace professional help but teaches first aiders how to listen, reassure and respond, and empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms.

The Mental Health First Aiders will also champion Mental Health First Aid activity at Bath Spa, and are passionate about reducing the stigma that is associated with mental health issues and normalising conversations around mental health. One way they’re doing this is by forming a network to share resources and tips for self-care, support each other and discuss ideas and opportunities to promote Mental Health First Aid.

Talking about the training, Charlotte, one of the Mental Health First Aiders said:

“It has been really insightful and given me the skills and confidence to provide initial support to colleagues who are experiencing mental ill health, as well as knowing where best to signpost them. It’s great to have been given the opportunity to develop these skills and to be able to help make a positive change to conversations around mental health.”

The training has been delivered by Bath Mind, a local independent mental health charity working across B&NES and Wiltshire, who have previously run a number of wellbeing sessions for staff. Bath Spa is continuing to work with Bath Mind to equip line managers with skills to support their staff, as well as providing further sessions for all employees on wellbeing, self-care and signposting others to resources.

Resources and tips for managing mental health and wellbeing can be found on the Mental Health First Aid website.

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