Why I believe in mental health training

Author: Sally Desborough

Date published

13 May 2020

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Why I believe in mental health training

Date published

13 May 2020

Author

Sally Desborough

Author

Sally Desborough

Sally Desborough is accredited by Mental Health First Aid England to deliver courses and bespoke workshops relating to mental heath. Here she discusses the extent of mental health issues in the UK, and how training can help.

Mental health is high on people’s agenda, particularly with the current pandemic. Measuring the prevalence of mental health problems is a challenge, given problems accessing mental health services, and the stigma associated with mental illness that prevents some people in need from reaching out.

 

1 in 4 people

Nonetheless, we know that mental health issues are common. The most recent statistics tell us that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health issue in any given year - most commonly stress-related issues, anxiety and depression.

We all have both physical and mental health

For a lot of people the term ‘mental health’ still has a negative connotation. Many times I’ve heard people say “he’s experiencing mental health at the moment” or “she’s off with mental health”. Actually, mental health is something we all have. We all recognise our physical health is fluid, changeable and different from person to person, and we should think of mental health in the same way: we all have it, and it’s fluid, changeable and differs from person to person.

The state of our physical health can influence our mental health, and the state of our mental health can influence our physical health. Mental health is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just what it is. We all had P.E. lessons at school, so from a very young age we know what we can do to keep physically fit - but I was taught little or nothing about maintaining mental health at school. This should change: we know that exercise is a fantastic way of protecting our mental health, and we know the link between physical and mental health is really strong.

We can better share this knowledge to deepen our understanding, lower stress, feel supported and live more happily.

Training

People don’t necessarily always know they’re unwell. It can be hard to see the wood for the trees. That was certainly the case for me during my own experience of mental illness - I thought I was being daft and overly-sensitive.

I never imagined I was in a deep depression (my symptoms were more than being daft and overly-sensitive but that’s what my brain told me). My manager suggested I visit the GP to talk about how I was feeling. Had she not suggested seeking mental health support, I don’t know where I would’ve been.

I believe in mental health training, like mental health first aid training, because it gives you the necessary knowledge and skills to recognise the symptoms of common mental health issues. It empowers you to have those crucial conversations with people when they’re having a tough time and don’t know what to do, or indeed when they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health issue.

Being able to provide that non-judgmental ear is really important, to be able to have a non-judgmental conversation that offers real relief to someone when they’re experiencing distress or difficulty.

As is supporting them appropriately without stepping over the boundary of ‘diagnosing’: that should be left to the medical professionals.
 
Mental Health First Aid Training

Sally's two day course will qualify you as a Mental Health First Aider.

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