Dundee school one of first in Scotland to receive new mental health first aid training

Posted: 6th October 2021

Pupils at Dundee’s Morgan Academy have become some of the first in Scotland to take part in a new first aid programme, designed to help young Scots recognise mental health issues in their peers.

The Ready for Life programme, run by St Andrew’s First Aid (SAFA), enables young people to spot signs of mental health issues in family and friends, while equipping them with the skills to provide vital support.

Morgan Academy is the third school in Scotland to have completed the training programme, which launched in May, and pupils are already seeing the value in completing the two-day course.

S3 pupil Megan said: “We’re really happy to be one of the first schools in Scotland to get this opportunity.

“We learned so much in the two days on how to deal with first aid issues and help people, but also in the training on mental health awareness.

“Everyone has had a really tough time over the last two years and being able to support with mental health is really important.

“I think all young people should get the opportunity to take part in this training.

“You never know when you might need to save a life or help someone that needs it.”

Building resilience

The course covers both emergency physical first aid and mental health first aid training.

The emergency first aid includes learning skills such as knowing whether a person is responsive, performing CPR and taking care of wounds and bleeding.

The mental health first aid teaches:

  • How to recognise, prevent and deal with mental health conditions
  • Understanding the reasons behind mental health problems
  • Building resilience, to be able to talk openly about mental health

Completing the course means achieving a nationally recognised qualification, which can not only be added to CVs, but can help save a life.

Becoming a life saver

The Ready for Life programme aims to teach young people the skills necessary to save a life – whether the person in question is in need of physical or mental health first aid.

And while SAFA have been delivering mental health first aid training for the past three years, they have been providing emergency first aid training since 1882.

Jim Dorman,director of campaigns and public engagement at SAFA, said: “The programme gives young people the skills to identify someone who is having a mental health crisis and support that person, be able to talk to them, but also to be able to signpost them to relevant help.

“We’re trying to create as many first aiders and life savers within Scotland as possible.

“Most importantly for us, we want to give young people the life skills to get them ready to go into the world of employment and give them confidence.

“For some, the programme will give them qualifications they might not have been able to otherwise achieve.

“It gives them practical and life skills to make them more confident and make them potential life savers.”

To find out more about the Ready for Life first aid training, email Jim at jim.dorman@firstaid.org.uk

Source: The Courier, September 2021

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