Mental Health First Aid Training Days


By Claire Flavell

Recently, I went to our office in Bromsgrove for a 2 day training session. Bluebird care had somebody in from Kilpatrick Training to do 2 days of mental health first aid training. We covered a huge range of topics, from dealing with relationship problems to managing your work life balance to actual suicidal intentions and people taking their own lives.

The main reasoning behind it is to highlight concerns that your staff might have that could impact on their work  and what you can do if someone comes to you and  how you should respond to it.

What I find is that we’re very good at saying ‘we’re fine’, when we’re not. My husband always panics when I say “fine”! He says if someone says she’s fine, then she’s not fine, and I agree with him. This training helped us to look for signs in people, for example if they’re saying they’re ok, but noticing they’re acting slightly different to normal, they could be struggling with their mental health or something that’s going on, and maybe they don’t know who to share it with.

The mental health first aid training gave me the tools to understand and be there for our staff – it reminded me to have an open door all the time, and to let our care staff know that I’ve done the training so they can come and talk to me. I will listen, it is confidential, I’m not here for a solution, but I can help them find a solution or they can just offload if they need to.

I absolutely loved the mental health first aid training, I found it really informative.  I came away with, a good resource book, and moving forward we’re going to filter the knowledge down to the supervisors and make sure others are trained in mental health awareness. Everybody deals with so much, and in our job roles we see so much. For example if a care assistant has been with someone when they pass away, although they might have dealt with it at the time, it could be 6 months down the line when the realisation sets in. We need to be able to recognise those signs in people when they’re not coping, and help them through it.

For me, because I’ve worked in the industry for so long and with so many different backgrounds, I don’t think I learned anything that I didn’t know before, but it made me think about my reactions to things, for example being comfortable with silence around people, letting people have the time to offload, but then not needing to give them a solution, rather just offering support or a listening ear.

We’re also very good when somebody comes to us with a problem coming up with a similar problem and sharing those experiences, and actually that’s not what you need, you need to let that person offload and not say “yes this happened to me” – that doesn’t help. Sometimes, you just need to listen.

This training will benefit the Bluebird care Shropshire customers because we’re supporting the staff more – We need to be able to support our staff and they need to feel comfortable and confident that they can tell us anything. We understand that everyone’s got problems and it’s about being vocal about it and saying we can deal with it, there’s nothing out there that we can’t deal with. If the staff then feel comfortable, our customers are getting better care, they’re getting care from people with life experiences. Our staff know that they can offload and that lessens their worries so they’re happier in their roles.