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"Are You Ready to Be a First Aider for Mental Health?"

We are all more aware of the need to support one another with mental health issues and none more so than church workers including pastors and youth workers, chaplains and workplace supervisors. One in four people will experience mental health problems at some time during their lives. Most are mild, short-term and can be successfully treated by self-help techniques, medication, professional therapies or a combination of these. What can we do to help and be supportive? 

There are now one and two day courses teaching ‘First Aid for Mental Health’. These aim to give people the skills to understand and identify mental health problems and to offer appropriate support, including signposting to professional help if necessary.

Dorchester Town Chaplains were invited to attend the basic one day course delivered by a local church pastor trained to deliver these short courses . There were 12 in the group, including some church youth workers. The course was interactive and informal but managed to pack a lot into the day.

The action plan for offering help is based on C.A.R.E:

            Check for immediate risk of suicide or self-harm and make the necessary contacts.

            Apply non-judgemental communication skills to enable the person to share thoughts and feelings.

            Reassure the person that they are right to share and that with appropriate action and support they should feel better soon. Give information on the range of services on offer.

            Encourage them to adopt self-help techniques and simple changes to their lifestyles.

We also discussed ways of improving mental health and well-being and looked at the NHS 5 steps, based on evidence and research, which have been proved to help with mental health and well-being;

·        Connect with people around you, family, colleagues, neighbours

·        Be active, just a short walk can make a difference

·        Keep learning, new skills, puzzle solving, DIY, singing.

·        Give to others – a kind act, a smiling ‘thankyou’, volunteering.

·        ‘Mindfulness’ – being aware of the present moment, surroundings, and our own responses and feelings towards those.


It was a valuable and informative day and we left with an accredited qualification and a very useful handbook with all the information we might not have completely absorbed during the day.

Interested in the training?

The material and training of the trainers are by Nuco Training Ltd and their website helpfully gives information of courses available near your own postcode area.



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