YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID

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1 YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID PROGRESS REPORT 2008/9 AN ALTOGETHER BETTER PROJECT, FUNDED THROUGH THE BIG LOTTERY WELL-BEING PROGRAMME ALL PEOPLE PICTURED IN THIS REPORT ARE PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROJECT

2 2 Altogether Better was founded on the firm belief that community health champions have the potential to make a significant impact on health inequalities. If we can empower individuals and communities to make positive changes to their lives, we will have helped to remove some of the fundamental barriers to sustainably improving health and well-being for our most marginalised communities. In 2008, we were awarded 6.8m from the BIG Lottery Wellbeing Fund to run our innovative, five-year programme in Yorkshire and the Humber. We have 16 locally-delivered flagship projects across the region, testing out different community health champion approaches in a range of settings. Our ambitious collaborative partnership also has a Regional Programme Team, Learning Network and Regional Advisory Forum. All are designed to ensure we maximise this unique opportunity to change the way we tackle the unacceptable health inequalities that currently exist in this country. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER We are England s first regional provider of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and dedicated to improving our population s well-being. The project is being delivered by Community Links, an established mental health service provider with regional and strategic links throughout Yorkshire and the Humber. Through MHFA training, we will empower people by giving them the knowledge, skills and confidence to help those experiencing problems at work, at home and in the general community and address the stigma about mental ill health. The training will also empower individuals through gaining an insight into their own mental health and well-being. Our aim over the next three years is to train at least 4,500 Mental Health First Aiders* and we have made an extremely strong and positive start towards achieving our target. Local strategic partnerships are supporting the project with training places being allocated according to an index based on social deprivation and population. Mental Heath First Aiders multi-faceted roles will include raising awareness of issues around mental health and reducing stigma and discrimination against sufferers. They are being trained in how to prevent a problem developing into a more serious state, comforting a person in distress and in exceptional circumstances preserving a life where someone may be in danger or endangering others. Prospective Mental Heath First Aiders are learning on the two-day training courses how to recognise symptoms, provide initial help and guide a person towards appropriate professional help. Trained Mental Heath First Aiders have the skills to act as MHFA champions. Their engagement will lead to improvements in their own well-being as well as empowering them to lend a hand to those they come in contact with. It is estimated that one in four of us, at some stage in our lives, will have a mental health problem, and we believe early intervention by mental heath first aiders, using an evidence-based educational approach, will be a positive step towards improving mental health and well-being across Yorkshire and the Humber. *Mental Health First Aiders are community health champions in this project CONTINUED ON

3 3 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES The aim of our project is to improve the mental health and well-being of the population across the Yorkshire and Humber region through an early-intervention, evidencebased educational approach. To achieve this we will train a minimum of 4,500 people over the next three years (by end of March 2011). The training will increase knowledge, skills and confidence and empower participants to act as health champions within their workplace and community OUTCOMES Trainees will have a more positive attitude about mental ill-health Trainees will be more confident to support and signpost someone with a mental health problem Employers, line managers and colleagues will have a more positive attitude about mental ill health Trainees will be more likely to help someone with a mental health problem in the workplace Trainees will have improved mental health PATHWAYS To education, employment and enterprise THE STORY SO FAR The early results of our project have been encouraging. The dedication of the team at Community Links and of our champions has started to make a real impact. This success makes up for the slow beginnings, when we found it difficult to meet our targets. We have started Mental Health First Aid training across the region and generally there has been a very good take-up of places with courses running often above our target of 12 per month. At the outset of the project we invited senior people involved in public health to become MHFA champions. Our champion in Leeds obtained 4,000 of extra funding, enabling 66 people from a wider variety of groups to access the training. These included tenant groups, neighbourhood associations, asylum seekers, the gypsy community and homeless people and it was a promising start towards addressing issues of health inequalities. Our champion in Doncaster organised a course for prisoners as we reached out to many different sectors. All told, we are working in 14 districts in the region and most districts have a lead champion. Their role is to find venues and publicise and recruit people onto the courses and some areas have been filling their entire allocation of places proving that there is real demand for help and knowledge around mental TRAINING CHCs to volunteer and to influence family and friends in their own community THE COMMUNITY HEALTH CHAMPION APPROACH VOLUNTEERING Supporting CHCs to influence their families, friends and neighbours BIG LOTTERY FUNDING 386,000* DURATION OF PROJECT Over this period, 4500 people will become community health champions through their training in Mental Health First Aid which is taking place in a variety of community and workplace settings. A further 45,000 individuals, will benefit from help given by MHFAiders. *Plus 169,500 local match funding health issues. In the eight months to the end of January, we had organised 48 courses and trained 514 people. Many areas have obtained additional funding to further support the delivery of MHFA in their area. Money has been found to cover the cost of venue hire or delegate places, or in some cases both. The two-day courses are available at the subsidised rate of 80 thanks to additional Big Lottery funding. Some districts have found additional money to make free places available. For example Doncaster have obtained 27,000 to fully fund their allocation and pay for venues. We have worked with carers, faith communities, small and medium-sized enterprises, and groups of health trainers and minority ethnic groups. It is interesting to note that in some communities people are more likely to go to their imam (Islamic leader) than their GP for advice. Imams have responded by requesting information on MHFA training for the benefit of their communities. We have paid close attention to the details around delivery of courses because we know that this will influence the success of the project at a much broader level. CONTINUED ON ENGAGING AND RECRUITING Individuals and employers

4 4 I THINK THE MHFA TRAINING COURSE OFFERED MUCH FURTHER BENEFITS THAN SOME MIGHT RECOGNISE. I THINK THE PERSONAL BENEFITS ARE MASSIVE AND THE AMOUNT IT CHANGES YOUR PERCEPTION OF MENTAL HEALTH IS HUGE. EXCELLENT COURSE LINKING TO THE FUTURE One of our team members has joined the national training team, indicating our desire to have a strategic role in the development of the national programme to ensure the sustainability of the project in the long term. In all of our 14 districts, we are working in partnership with public health bodies to ensure the delivery of MHFA is coordinated with local strategic planning. We are also working with the Care Services Improvement OUR CHALLENGES Finding the right staff for what can be a demanding job, involving travel, early starts and late finishes, was far from straightforward. Out of the early difficulties has come a supportive team that communicates well and is fully committed to promoting MHFA, which we must continue to do consistently. Our experience has advised us to book 15 places for each 12-place course to Partnership s Lead Mental Health and Employment Programme and exploring links with the private sector, which we believe is very important in the long term. When Big Lottery funding ends, revenue will need to come entirely from sales of the course, and the amount of interest shown so far suggests that MHFA training will be viable in the long term. Delivery to the business community will be a key part of achieving our aim. allow for people dropping out. We feel this is a sensible step even though it sometimes means our trainers rising to the challenge of taking on 15 trainees! The network of the 14 districts is proving its value in ensuring that delivery of MHFA is coordinated with local strategic planning. CONTINUED ON MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID: EARLY COURSE FEEDBACK HOW GOOD IS YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? 1% 1% 7% 8% Extremely 33% Very BEFORE COURSE AFTER COURSE 33% 57% 58% Reasonably Not very Not at all HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN YOUR ABILITY TO DEAL WITH MENTAL HEALTH RELATED ISSUES? 1% 3% 10% 14% Not at all 24% 37% A little bit BEFORE COURSE AFTER COURSE Moderately Quite a lot 45% 64% Extremely HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU TO HELP SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM AT YOUR WORKPLACE? 6% 1 15% Not at all 4 28% A little bit BEFORE COURSE AFTER COURSE Moderately Quite a lot 35% 58% Extremely

5 5 NEXT STEPS The key point that inspires all of us for the years ahead is that MHFA training really does work. In fact, the response has been so good that we are looking at the possibilities of broadening the perspective of our project to include training around specific mental health issues. We regularly get queries about this and have put in a system to record them to inform future development. Our trainers are highly-skilled and experienced and we believe we can build on this. Our vision for the future is that MHFA will become a training choice for employers and the voluntary sector. It will be recognised as a vital element of building capacity within communities to improve health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. Therefore, the promotion of MHFA, through all of our channels, including doctors surgeries and community groups, will continue to be essential. THE MHFA COURSE HELPED ME TO IDENTIFY THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM AND GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE TO USE THE SKILLS I D GAINED AROUND NON-JUDGMENTAL LISTENING CASE STUDY Steve (not real name) was able to use the skills he had gained in training as a Mental Health First Aider to help other people. I used the knowledge and skills from the MHFA course really soon after I d finished the training. There was a volunteer at the centre where I work; he told me at his interview that he d had post traumatic stress disorder in the past but he said everything was fine now and he didn t have it any more. I m his line manager, and I noticed that while he was volunteering for us he was really emotional he d get upset really easily and had been getting angry. I think he d been lashing out at home as well. The MHFA course helped me to recognise that his symptoms might be related to his post traumatic stress disorder. I was more confident to talk to him about the issues and I was able to encourage him to seek professional help. Before coming on the training I would have felt out of my depth. In another situation there was a 17-yearold girl who works with me. I noticed that she d been having mood swings. When she first came to work for us she was really bright and bubbly, then she was arriving at work looking like she had all the cares of the world on her shoulders, really down in the dumps. When I talked to her about how she was feeling she told me that she s been seeing a guy who had committed suicide. She had finished the relationship with him just before he did this and she was feeling really guilty about his death. It had recently been his 18th birthday and she d commemorated it by taking flowers to his grave, and there had been other occasions recently when he d been really on her mind. It had started to take over her life. The MHFA course helped me to identify that there was a problem, and gave me the confidence to let her talk to me using the skills I d gained around non-judgmental listening. I encouraged her to see a counsellor, which she did, and she s much better now.

6 6 EARLY OUTPUTS AND IMPACT In 2008 we ran 48 courses and trained 514 people. The majority of participants had some knowledge of mental health issues prior to the course whether from personal experience or through their work (57% reasonably knowledgeable, 8% very to extremely knowledgeable). Responses from course participants to the 7-10 day follow up questionnaire showed that: 41% felt their knowledge of mental health issues was very to extremely good (increase of 33%) and 58% felt reasonably knowledgeable. 78% felt confident or extremely confident in the ability to deal with mental health related issues (an increase of 69%). 70% felt confident or extremely confident to help someone with a mental health problem in their workplace (an increase of 53%) with 28% being moderately confident. At five month follow up, 81% of participants stated they felt that taking part in MHFA training had helped them improve their own mental health and well being. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER PROJECT CONTACT Emma Swales Naomi Cordiner General enquiries: Mental Health First Aid Yorkshire and Humber is being delivered by Community Links

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