Posted on: Friday 1 July 2022
A project to create a network of qualified mental health trainers in Torfaen is underway.
Six volunteers from different organisations in Torfaen have undergone training with Mental Health First Aid Wales to become licensed instructors.
They will now offer up to 20 free training sessions each for local organisations, groups and businesses, thanks to £25,000 from Torfaen Council's Covid Recovery Fund.
Claire Reid, director of Mental Health First Aid Wales, based in Blaenavon, said: "The idea is by training instructors in the community, they can then provided training to their colleagues and other organisations in their local areas.
"The aim is to provide sessions in adult and youth mental health, after which the instructors will then be able to run paid-for courses to generate a small income for their organisations.
"There is a huge interest in mental health first aid, particularly among front line workers. These courses will give people the knowledge and skills to support someone in mental distress."
The volunteers from Citizens Advice, the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), TVA, TOG's Disabled Children's Centre, in New Inn, and CoStar in Cwmbran, have recently completed their training and will be offering free training sessions over the next few months.
Lynne Howles, manager of the CoStar charity, said: "The sessions will help people identify the signs someone is struggling and know what to do to help them.
"It's similar to physical first aid which teaches you to spot the signs of a heart attack or stroke and the immediate steps to take.
"It might be that someone just needs someone to talk to or they may need extra support if the symptoms persist."
Rebecca Driscoll, programme manager for TOGs, added: "When I saw the details of the mental health training course I thought it was too good to be true!
"Children with additional learning needs are more likely to have mental health problems and we noticed an increase in the number of young people struggling with anxiety since the pandemic.
"There is still a high level of anxiety and we've noticed some families also need additional support."
Lynne and Rebecca both completed the youth mental health training and delivered their first training session last week.
In September, Mental Health First Aid Wales will be training more instructors with Gwent Police and Scouts Cymru.
If you would like to find out about the free mental health first aid sessions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Mental Health First Aid Wales, visit their website.
To find out about the other projects supported by Torfaen Council's Covid Recovery Fund, click here.