Last week, some of our team took part in a mental health first aid training course, provided by the wonderful Mental Health First Aid England and our Baltic Creative neighbours, The Mind Map. The two-day course was packed with information on how to identify and support someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. It was an eye-opening experience, that left us feeling better equipped to support the young people on our programmes and team members we work with. Here are just a few of our takeaways.
There are many ways you can navigate difficult conversations with others
One thing that really stuck with us was the advice on how to approach difficult and often uncomfortable conversations with others who need someone to talk to. We were given guidance and tips to follow to ensure that our peers feel completely supported and able to talk about their mental health issues, without fear of judgement. For example, sitting side by side or going for a walk when talking can ease the pressure of having to offload.
Mental health issues are more common than you think
It’s easy to forget that mental health issues are more common than we think. In fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. During our training, we found that there is a spectrum for mental health issues, which means that anyone can be affected, regardless of whether have had problems with mental health before. It was comforting to realise that we are not alone in our struggles.
It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience to support someone
One of the most important things we took away from the training was that it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience to support someone through their mental health struggles. There are lots of small, everyday actions that can make a world of difference. Just being there for someone, listening and offering reassurance can go a long way. We recognised that opening up to someone can seem daunting, so instead, simply having a chat and allowing others to feel heard and not is an affective first step in approaching support for mental health.
One of the most important things that we took away from the course was the importance of talking about our mental health, both as individuals and as a society. For too long, mental health has been viewed as taboo and we want to put a stop to that. Research shows that due to the strain on mental health care in the UK, 8 million people are left without help and so, we believe that as a society, we all have a responsibility to support each other during hard times.
We’re excited to apply what we learned in the workplace and create a more comfortable environment for everyone!