Free training is being offered to people across North Wales to help them better support those struggling with mental health difficulties.
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday 10th September, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is encouraging people across the region to sign up for its I CAN Mental Health Awareness Training.
The health board is the first in Wales to make such training widely available, free of charge.
Developed by NHS mental health professionals, I CAN training provides an overview of common mental health problems as well as best practice guidance on how to listen, give helpful advice, and look after your own mental health and wellbeing.
It is part of the health board’s I CAN campaign, which aims to provide earlier support for people experiencing mental health difficulties, empower people to take control of managing their mental health, and encourage open conversations about the topic.
The campaign has already seen new mental health support introduced for people in crisis at North Wales’ three Emergency Departments, as well as additional support to help people with mental health difficulties find and remain in employment.
I CAN training was originally developed for North Wales barbers, as part of efforts to tackle the tragedy of male suicide, and raise awareness of men’s mental health.
Following huge demand, the training has been now been opened up to employers, community groups and individuals across the region. The Health Board plans to introduce a ‘train the trainer’ model to ensure it can meet this growing demand.
Amongst those to have already received I CAN Mental Health Awareness Training is Caernarfon based Barber, Jason Parry. He said: “The I CAN training has been a massive help for me on a personal and a professional basis. It gave me insight into the world of mental health, and allowed me to have more empathy with sufferers.
“Before the course I wasn’t aware of the avenues of help that was available to people who suffer from mental health issues. But I now feel confident in being able to signpost some of my vulnerable clients to the help they need.”
Lesley Singleton, BCUHB’s Director of Partnerships for Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, said: “We know that many people want to be able to support friends, colleagues and family members who may be struggling with mental health difficulties, but they are worried that they may say the wrong thing, or make the situation worse.
“Our training provides best practice advice on how to listen, give helpful advice, and look after your own mental health. We hope it will empower ordinary people in communities up and down North Wales to have open, honest and informed conversations about mental health, which can help to tackle the stigma which still prevents some people from seeking the support they need.
“We want to encourage anybody with an interest in receiving or delivering the training to please get in touch.”
To register your interest in the training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Barbers from across North Wales who are supporting the training drive