UON commitment to better mental health wins first national award

Date 26.03.2021

The University’s mission to make Waterside and the wider community better equipped to support people’s mental health has gained further momentum and recognition.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid training. It aims to give people the skills, knowledge and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and guide a person towards the right support.

University of Northampton’s MHFA team was established in 2017. Since then, they have supported the training of more than 1,200 staff, nursing students and members of the public.

Pre-Covid restrictions, this training was extended to local organisations such as Northamptonshire County Council Cricket Club, Northampton Town Football Club’s community team, BMI and BUPA.

Since April last year, the team switched to providing half-day courses online, with more than 100 people signing up. Very soon, MHFA training will be rolled-out for students on two of the University’s newest health courses, Physiotherapy and Professional Nursing Advocate.

This week (Wed 24 March) their energies were rewarded with a win for MHFA at the first Inside Out awards. Held virtually, the event celebrated mental health and those who champion it. Judges commended the University for its “three-pronged approach covering students, staff and the community as mental health first aid has been used very effectively to raise awareness and promote conversation about mental health.”

Claire Cross, HR Business Partner (pictured holding the sign, with Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing Emma Dillon) leads on the staff side of MHFA training delivery. She said: “Just being nominated against such excellent competitors as Deutsche Bank and the Cabinet Office’s Fast Stream and Early Talent was recognition enough.

“Winning is something else, but it shows we are on the right road to upskilling and enlightening people about what mental health is and how to help those who need it most.”

There are places on future workshops being held in April, May and June. Details about further courses will be published soon.

Find out more about Mental Health First Aid at the University of Northampton.