YMCA Birmingham to tackle huge rise in mental health problems

As Mental Health trended on Social Media for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, shocking reports are showing a huge rise in mental health problems.

Research from the CIPD in association with Simplyhealth has found that over half of UK organisations have seen an increase in the number of reported common mental health conditions over the last 12 months and mental ill health is now the primary cause of long-term absence in over a fifth of UK organisations.

The Universities UK’s report also says several higher education institutions have seen a rise in student suicides over a short space of time, while the number of young people dropping out of University with mental health problems has trebled in recent years.

To combat this endemic, YMCA Birmingham has announced that it has been awarded a qualification to deliver Mental Health First Aid training to organisations and people across the country.

The training, which is becoming increasingly popular, has been awarded by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) who are on a mission to train one in ten of the population in England in MHFA skills – “because we all have mental health.”

Adele Biddle, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, YMCA Birmingham said, “I am honoured to be able to deliver this very important training to organisations at a time when it could not be more necessary.

The course teaches people specific actions to follow if they believe someone is suffering from a mental health crisis – for example if someone is at risk of suicide, self-harm or panic attacks and the idea is for Mental Health First Aid to have the same reputation as physical first aid in the long run and for everyone to have access to it, in the workplace and in schools.

The course, which is available on weekends as well as throughout the week, uses a similar pneumonic guide to the Doctor’s ABC which is used for physical first aid. It also includes a general action plan for specific disorders – for example people who are recovering from depression, eating disorders, psychosis and anxiety.

According to Adele, the course, which is available to “anyone and everyone” has seen a large proportion of the people attending from HR positions who are concerned about the number of absences from their companies due to work-related or mental health issues.

Part of the programme is aimed at employers being able to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues or declining mental health to enable them to involve themselves sooner and start asking the right questions. The action plan teaches people how to approach someone, what questions to ask, how to ask them, the environment in which they can ask them and the body language to use.

Alan Fraser, YMCA Birmingham Chief Executive, added, “YMCA has an ongoing commitment to this issue through which we support through initiatives such as the I am whole campaign. In our industry, this is particularly prevalent as figures from Mental Health Charity, Mind show that 79% of people with mental health problems said a housing situation has made their mental health worse or caused a mental health problem”

The #IAMWHOLE campaign aims to encourage young people to challenge harmful language and negative stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to speak out and seek help.

“Poor mental health is having huge impact on young people today, with social media, finding work and affording somewhere to live all contributing to the increased pressure people feel today. This training is vital and could actually save someone’s life.” Alan continued.

If you would like to find out more about the Mental Health First Aid Course and how it could help you or your company, please email: pete.adams@ymcabirmingham.org.uk