University set for increased mental health support thanks to roll-out of training

News Page 12th April 2019

The mental health of people studying and working at the University will be better served thanks to more students and staff being trained to support them.

Since November 2017 when the University began to roll-out Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to nursing students and staff, a total of 469 people – including external service users and health trust colleagues – signed-up and completed the course.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an international awareness and skills programme. First Aiders learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of a range of mental health issues.

They are then taught how to provide help on a first aid basis and guide the person towards the support services.

MHFA is an added tool the University offers student nurses, supplementing their degrees. It helps them focus on actively promoting mental health to the public, intervening earlier to support people who are or may develop mental ill health issues and to have an increased awareness of their own well being.

The University will extend the training; over the next eight months, 288 nursing students and further courses for University staff members have been advertised.

Emma Dillon, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University (pictured in the middle, with nursing and Faculty of Health and Society colleagues) said: “It has been a very busy – but hugely rewarding – past few weeks and all of our MH First Aiders have worked really hard. It was a fantastic achievement from all!

“We have big plans for making sure the Waterside community is as healthy as possible, so having these new MH ‘first aiders’ on hand will help ensure that continues.”

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