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Brentwood funeral directors sponsor mental health first aid training course for teachers

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 December 2018

Bennetts Funerals supported a mental health first aid course for teachers to help deter suicide in young people. Picture: Wendy Pike

Bennetts Funerals supported a mental health first aid course for teachers to help deter suicide in young people. Picture: Wendy Pike

Wendy Pike

Mental health first aid training for teachers has been sponsored by a funeral directors to help prevent suicide in young people.

Independent mental health first aid trainer Jeff Porter, pupil support worker Shirley Sulivan, headteacher at Brightside Primary School Luke Bulpett and Bridget Holley from Bennetts Funerals. Picture: Wendy PikeIndependent mental health first aid trainer Jeff Porter, pupil support worker Shirley Sulivan, headteacher at Brightside Primary School Luke Bulpett and Bridget Holley from Bennetts Funerals. Picture: Wendy Pike

A group of eight primary and secondary school staff were guided through recognising signs and symptoms of poor mental health in pupils by youth mental health first aid trainer Jeff Porter at Brightside Primary School in Billericay.

The group also learned how to help initially with first aid and attendees were provided with a useful list of referral contacts. Sponsored by Bennetts Funerals, High Street, Brentwood, the one-day course was organised in response to an increased number of young people taking their own lives.

Bereavement groups facilitator at Bennetts Funerals Bridget Holley said: “We wanted to do something purposeful to help young people in the communities we serve.

“Record numbers of young people are struggling with academic pressures, bullying, poverty and a lack of mental health services for young people.

“Training people who are already in a young person’s life can potentially speed up their recovery.

“And one young person through our door is one too many.”

Pupil support worker Shirley Sullivan at Brightside Primary School who attended the training said: “The course has given us lots of good information and contacts that we can access if we need them for the children.

“It’s nice sharing with others what’s happening in their schools and how we can help children.

“We find here it’s general growing up problems, friendship and family problems like losing a loved nanny or granddad.

“We try to give them an extra bit of loving care at a crisis time of their life.”

A significant part of the course was dedicated to the process of recovering from mental health issues.

Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) offers courses for anyone who works or lives with young people aged 8 - 18, or supports them.

MHFA’s ultimate aim is to save lives by getting first aid assistance to young people, preferably at an early stage, then guiding them to the support they need to prevent issues developing into potentially life-threatening crises.

Mr Porter, who is an independent trainer with the MHFA, said: “We see on the news that there’s a mental health crisis and children and young people are suffering.

“I feel if we can get people to recognise they have mental health issues, reduce the stigma and discrimination and get them the help they need, earlier, then hopefully that will lead to a better adult life for them.

“Mental health first aid is about empowering people to approach a young person they feel is experiencing a mental health issue like psychosis, depression, anxiety, self-harming, eating disorders.

“It’s about recognising that and signposting them to appropriate professional help as early as possible to promote quicker recovery.”

Course attendees came from secondary schools Mayflower High and The Billericay School and five Billericay primary schools: Downham Church of England VC, Sunnymede, South Green Junior, St Peter’s Catholic and Brightside.

Bennetts Funerals intends to sponsor another mental health first aid course for schools in the Brentwood area and would be pleased to hear from schools interested in participating.

For more information on the MHFA, visit here

For further details on Bennetts Funerals, visit here

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