Why Mental Health First Aid is So Important for Young People

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With the pressures brought on by social media and the increasing demands of education and the early stages of a career, it’s no wonder mental health issues are on the rise in young people.

The findings of recent reports have echoed this sentiment, with as many as one in every six teenagers living with a diagnosable mental health condition.

While many fantastic organisations and individuals are working hard to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, one of the most important things we can do to support young people in education and the workplace is to ensure that as many people as possible are trained in mental health first aid.

But before looking at how mental health first aid training helps young people, it’s worth understanding just how grave the situation is surrounding mental health in children and young adults.

Damning Statistics Show Depth of the Mental Health Crisis Among Young People

Recent reports and studies have highlighted the dire mental state of many young people in the UK.

In the UK, mental health charity YoungMinds have uncovered the following startling statistics:

  • One in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021, a massive increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s five children in every classroom.
  • The number of A&E attendances by young people aged 18 or under with a recorded diagnosis of a psychiatric condition more than tripled between 2010 and 2018-19.
  • 83% of young people with mental health needs agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had worsened their mental health.
  • In 2018-19, 24% of 17-year-olds reported having self-harmed in the previous year, and 7% reported having self-harmed with suicidal intent at some point in their lives. 16% reported high levels of psychological distress.
  • Suicide was the leading cause of death for males and females aged between five to 34 in 2019.
  • Nearly half of 17-19 year-olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder have self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, rising to 52.7% for young women.

These shocking findings have thrown a spotlight on the mental health crisis taking place among young people, with more and more requiring urgent support. It could be why a recent survey carried out by St. Johns Ambulance service found that 75% of 10-17 year-olds want mental health first aid taught in schools.

Not only would it help them spot problems early and improve their self-care, but it would also give them the skills and confidence to support their friends should they need it.

So, how can mental health first aid training help the care we offer our young people?

How Mental Health First Aid Training Can Help Young People

Mental health first aid training is designed to give individuals the skills and knowledge to identify, understand and support someone who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.

The aim is to equip individuals with the confidence to have difficult conversations, signpost people towards professional help and provide initial support, which can make all the difference when someone is going through a tough time.

Whether you’re a concerned parent, someone who plays a pastoral role in an educational environment, or a designated workplace first aider, mental health first aid training can help you support young people in several ways.

Trained mental health first aiders gain:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing.
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues.
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress.
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening.
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix.

Where Can I Receive Mental First Aid Training?

Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) is an internationally recognised training course designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. At TL Training, we offer an adult Mental Health First Aid Course, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England.

The adult Mental Health First Aid course consists of four manageable sessions. Through a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions, each session is built around a mental health first aid action plan. We limit numbers to 16 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn.

Everyone who completes the course gets:

  • A manual to refer to whenever you need it
  • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health
  • A certificate of attendance to say you are a Mental Health First Aider

To learn more about our Mental Health First Aid course or to enquire about availability, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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