Lord Mayor launches ground breaking Mental Health First Aid programme

The Beacon Counselling Trust and Local Solution’s ex-personnel and families “RESTORE” programme, funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund is the first organisation in the UK to deliver the newly developed Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid course (AFMHFA)

The two day course which was developed by community interest company MHFA England, in conjunction with The Royal British Legion, Combat Stress and SSAFA, seeks specifically to engage with the Armed Forces Community across the UK. The initiative will ultimately deliver Mental Health First Aid to 6,600 serving personnel, reservists, ex-service personnel and families with the overall aim of improving the mental health and wellbeing of this community. The course will also help to reduce the stigma and discrimination that overshadows the issue of mental health in the wider Armed Forces Community.

Neil Platt, who leads the Clinical programmes at Beacon says, “What a fantastic achievement for the team to be able to deliver the first course of this kind in the UK. It clearly shows how RESTORE is leading the way in mental health support for the Armed Forces Community in Merseyside.”

Col Joe Harkon OBE T.D DL, who is the President of the Parachute Regimental Association in Liverpool says, “With over 30,000 ex-service personnel in Liverpool this initiative is a clear and structured approach to help support the mental health needs of what is sometimes a very vulnerable societal group and it provides the skills necessary to effectively support those experiencing mental distress.”

Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, says: “By delivering the very first Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid course, Beacon Counselling will be taking the first step towards improving the mental health outlook for our Armed Forces community. The course will teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and the most appropriate way to guide the affected person towards the right support and improve their recovery. AFMHFA is an initiative which will help to break down the barriers that exist around mental health in this community and by doing could ultimately save lives.”

Those attending the course delivered by Beacon Counselling will be taught the mental health equivalent of first aid skills, training them to:

_ spot the early signs of mental health problems;
_ feel confident helping someone who is experiencing a problem;
_ provide help on a first aid basis;
_ help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others;
_ help stop a mental health problem from getting worse;
_ help someone to recover faster;
_ guide someone to the right support; and
_ reduce the stigma of mental health problems.

The courses will be held at the Beacon Head Office in Clubmoor and from the Beacon residential facility in Anglesey. A number of free places are available on the courses for members of the wider Armed Forces Community. To book a place please contact the RESTORE programme on 0151-226-0696 or 07506-762949 or email us at restore@beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk

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