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Mental Health First Aid Course: my thoughts and reflections

by Julia Livesley

Wow, this week I completed the 2-day mental health first aid course with Stressmatters and I loved it!  Since the pandemic, this has been offered as a virtual course delivered over 4 half days.

At this time during the pandemic and restrictions it gave me structure to my week and best of all, I learnt so much.   Like most of us, we all have our own beliefs about mental health and most of what I knew was ill informed!

Our instructor James Capell-Abra carefully and successfully guided us through the content of:

  • What is meant by mental health?
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Substance misuse
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders and Psychosis

And more importantly the use of an easy to remember model of how to administer mental health first aid to anyone, regardless of whether its early distress or crisis level.

I’ll admit that when it came to the topics of suicide and self-harm, I was feeling a bit concerned, but James had a very natural way of introducing the subject and everything was in bite size chunks so made the learning easier.   The videos to watch from Mental Health First Aid England were really informative.

I feel quite confident now that using my new knowledge and skills will enable me to support others when required in the workplace and with friends and family.  I also have Rose McDonald, my work buddy to talk about mental health which has been invaluable.

The aim of Mental Health First Aid England is to ensure that 1 in 10 people are trained on this subject and I am passionate about this goal.    At this present time as we approach a year of lockdowns and restrictions …… the mental health of the nation is so important.

It’s an absolute must that organisations are focused on their plan for the mental wellbeing of their teams, but if like me and you are self-employed and you want to add to your CPD, then just go ahead and do it.  You won’t be disappointed!

It is so sad that poor mental health has such a stigma attached to it, which is made worse by social media and a real lack of knowledge and understanding.  So, this year in 2021, I will be focusing not just on my physical health, but my mental health too.

If you would like to know more about the course that I attended, then please contact James Capell-Abra at Stress Matters who will be able to give you more information.


Useful Links

Stress Matters

James Capell-Abra –

Mental Health England