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Manchester Schools Embrace Mental Health Awareness Week


Training provider Seetec has introduced a mental health training course for schools in Wythenshawe to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

The course is part of the company’s commitment to helping schools gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle the ongoing stigma surrounding mental health.

On Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th May, the city centre based education specialist held the first of its free training sessions at Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe enabling staff to gain qualifications to become certified mental health first aiders.

Staff from Newall Green High School, Newall Green Primary School and Manchester Health Academy took part in the sessions.

The two day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course has been introduced to help staff from across the schools identify, understand and help someone experiencing a mental health issue. It is designed to teach individuals how to listen, reassure and respond in a crisis, and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.

Throughout the sessions, attendees learnt how to recognise warning signs of mental ill health, and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping themselves safe.

At the end of the course, the newly qualified mental health first aiders gained a number of skills, including

An in depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support through self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix of all three.

Seetec delivered the first of this training during Mental Health Awareness Week specifically in Wythenshawe, identifying the key schools with limited funding and where mental health is a recognised issue among students.

Greg Bate, Senior Operational Partnership Manager at Seetec, helped to deliver the programme alongside local enterprise, Business Working With Wythenshawe (BW3).

He said “We felt it was really important to introduce the first of these sessions to schools in Wythenshawe, and we’re hoping to roll these out across the region too. It’s been amazing to provide these free sessions to an area truly in need and hopefully will reap the benefits of the training. As well as working for Seetec and being an active member of BW3, I work as a mentor for students at Newall Green as part of the aspirational mentoring programme, so I’m personally looking forward to seeing the skills from the training form part of a wider conversation in the school as a whole.”

Kevin Buchanan is the Assistant Head for Inclusion at Newall Green High School and has helped devise some of the mental health programmes currently in operation at the school.

He says “We are delighted that Seetec have provided the opportunity for our staff to have free mental health first aid training. Newall Green High School has also developed an in-house vertical CBT mental health curriculum called Time For TEA so mental health is school is something we take very seriously. The basis of the training to staff, parents and students is that we always have Time For TEA and that when we effectively engage with our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions then we find ourselves building resilience, positive mental health and communication skills to access further peer and adult support.”