New mental health first aiders will help staff and pupils at Lancaster school
Four members of staff at a Lancaster school have been trained as mental health first aiders.
This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week, and The Bay Learning Trust has committed to training four members of staff from each of its school to be mental health champions, for both pupils and staff.
After completing an Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England online course, Ripley St Thomas CE Academy staff Paddy Wilson, Jamie Quarry, Sarah Taylor and Claire Marshall Slater have all recently qualified as mental health first aiders for the Ripley community.
MHFAs are trained to offer a deeper understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect people's wellbeing, including depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, and substance misuse.
As well as spotting triggers and signs of mental health issues, they offer non-judgmental listening, support and early intervention but are also trained to respond to individuals in crisis who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, self-harming behaviour, panic attacks or reactions to traumatic events.
They offer a strictly confidential listening service and can provide signposting to further help if needed. They do not judge or diagnose, and they hope to reduce the stigma around mental ill health in school communities.