In late spring this year URTU organised a two-day Mental Health First Aider Training course. This took place in Milton Keynes and was open to union members and management.
Manchester College tutor Nigel Williams delivered the course, which dealt with some very important and also delicate subjects. It explored the various types of mental health issues and the effect these have on both individuals who have the issues, and also their families, workmates and employer.
URTU ULF Project Manager Jeff Latham said:
URTU representatives attending the course were also joined by three members of management from FTX Logistics. It was encouraging to see them taking the matter of metal well-being seriously.”
The course was split into different areas, and the first to be explored was depression, including its effects on everyone concerned, its causes and also some of the methods used to try and combat or limit its effects on individuals.
The afternoon session looked at suicide and the data surrounding this issue, including the high suicide rates amongst men. The delegates were then asked to consider a design which could be placed on a t-shirt which they felt best represented mental illness. These designs were then discussed by the rest of the course members on the first session on Friday morning.
There were some excellent and powerful images designed by the delegates and demonstrated how mental health issues mean different things to different people.
The following day’s session covered the support available and the different organisations who are there to give help and advice. The delegates also looked at ways in which initial conversations could be held with members and how important these can be.
The course was organised by URTU and supported by Mental Health England. It is designed to help individuals give very basic support to people with mental health issues in the workplace.
It is not in any way intended to replace the professional help available or take away the employers responsibilities, but rather to help supplement the help that is already there and to signpost individuals to where they can get more professional help.”
It was great to see the enthusiastic participation of all the delegates and how willing individuals were to open up and participate in all the activities.”
Jeff also felt it was good to see the respect that they had for each other and the support shown during some difficult subjects. By the end of the course, the delegates came away with a lot more knowledge on the symptoms and effects of different mental health issues and how to help support and signpost individuals with these issues.
Summing up Jeff said that following the course delegates;
had a better understanding on how to look after their own mental health and the signs to look out for in order to help keep themselves mentally healthy.”
The course proved to be very successful and not just helped with raising awareness of mental health, but also gave practical solutions on how to help give that initial support, signpost individuals and also work with the employer to give more long-term support.”