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Celebrating success as Wales reaches 10,000 Mental Health First Aiders

Mind Cymru is celebrating the success of the Mental Health First Aid (Wales) course, as the number of people trained reached 10,000 in November 2012.

This means that 10,000 people are able to provide initial help to anyone experiencing a mental health problem at home, at work or out and about in the community in everyday life, making a real difference to the people of Wales.

People often feel unsure what to do when they think that someone might have a mental health problem and worry about saying something wrong. Mental Health First Aid (Wales) trains people in how to spot the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health problem and how to provide initial help and support.

The course focuses on practical skills, developing people’s confidence to ask someone about their mental health and what to do next. Research carried out last year by the University of Glamorgan found that 96% of people felt confident or better prepared to help a person experiencing a mental health problem after the course.

The Mental Health First Aid (Wales) scheme is supported by Welsh Government who are keen to see many more people trained across Wales. The course supports a number of priority areas for the Welsh Government, including improving health at work.

Mental Health First Aid (Wales) Project Manager, Claire Foster, said: “We’re delighted that Wales now has 10,000 Mental Health First Aiders able to provide initial help and support to anyone they think might be experiencing a mental health problem.

“Mental health problems, especially stress, anxiety and depression, are incredibly common. We know that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any one year. The good news is that people can and do recover from mental health problems but the earlier people get help the better. Mental Health First Aid can be a vital part of this. It’s a course that anyone can do and it focuses on the practical skills and information that people need.

“Our Mental Health First Aiders come from all sections of the community – from voluntary groups to those working with young people, from faith groups to the police and GP receptionists. Businesses like Airbus and Tata Steel have also trained employees and are already seeing the benefits.

“We’d like to thank every one of the 10,000 people who have trained so far and also to congratulate our Mental Health First Aid instructors who are doing such a great job. We hope they go on to train another 10,000 people in the coming years!”

For more information on Mental Health First Aid (Wales) and to find out about courses available in your area, visit www.mhfa-wales.org.uk.

Professor Nick Craddock, Director of the NCMH, has spoken of his support: “This a very welcome initiative. It is important that those in severe mental distress get the same recognition and help from others as is usual for those in severe physical distress.”

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