Updates from Time to Talk Day 2018, opportunities to train as an MHFA instructor and upcoming events in mental health.
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Mental Health First Aid Newsletter

February 2018

Welcome to the February edition of the Mental Health First Aid England newsletter. We hope that, despite the chilly weather, you’re feeling well rested and ready for February to begin.

In this issue, we’re pleased to share with you updates from our Time to Talk Day celebrations, and new opportunities to train as an MHFA instructor, as well as upcoming events which we hope will be of interest.

Time to Talk Day 2018

On Thursday 1st February the MHFA England team joined in to mark Time to Talk Day. This year the theme was talking about mental health anywhere.

It’s easy to think there’s no right place to talk about mental health. But the more we talk, the better life is – for all of us. Time to Talk Day is a great reminder for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen and to change lives.

We believe in giving people the skills and confidence to be ready to support mental health anywhere – to listen non-judgementally, to reassure and signpost someone to support. That’s why, for Time to Talk Day, we asked some of our Mental Health First Aiders and instructors to share their message: That it's always a good time to talk about mental health. You can watch their video here.
In keeping with the theme of talking about mental health anywhere, we also asked two of our instructors to share their stories of the most unlikely place they’ve spoken about mental health. Natasha Devon MBE spoke about her experience of a simple conversation creating an unexpected connection, and Stuart Skinner from World Challenge shared his hair raising story of how MHFA skills helped him after an unexpected encounter underwater!

We spoke to ten inspirational instructors and Mental Health First Aiders from very different walks of life to find out how they’re using MHFA to break stigma, and get people talking about mental health. You can read their story here: Talking mental health: from the rugby pitch to the barber shop.

Brogan Driscoll, reporter for the Huffington Post, also wrote about becoming a Mental Health First Aider in an article that was featured on the homepage of the Huffington Post website. As part of the article she spoke to Stuart Skinner and Natasha Devon MBE about their experiences of becoming an instructor and using their MHFA skills.
Members of the MHFA England team also came together to mark the day. Three members of the central team from different departments shared their stories of how they helped to support someone's mental health with just a simple conversation. The team also took extra time out to talk about mental health with a co-worker they don’t usually work with in our Lunch Buddies initiative.

We know our MHFA community was active on the day, sharing the message, organising new courses and starting conversations about mental health. We want to thank you all for your support, and for helping us to keep spreading the word about MHFA. Together, we can reach our goal of reaching one in ten people in England with MHFA skills.

Mental Health First Aid England at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference 2018

The MHFA England team are pleased to be joining the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference on 6th-7th March this year at the NEC in Birmingham. The conference is the UK’s leading event for occupational health, HR and other professionals responsible for improving health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Now in its 12th successful year, the conference and exhibition covers a range of topics designed to ensure employees are engaged, motivated, healthy and supported to return to work quickly following an absence and to stay in work.

The MHFA England team will be hosting a number of workshops including “Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Construction Industry”, “Being Ready to Perform – Are You Helping People Thrive?”, “Working with SMEs to Create Mentally Healthy Workplaces” and “Planning and Delivery of a Successful Mental Health Communications Campaign”, as well as many more.

The conference is a great opportunity to gain more information about supporting employee wellbeing, and to network with like-minded professionals with over 3,500 delegates set to attend. You can buy attendance passes now, costing just £66 for both days.

Train as an MHFA instructor

Are you passionate about making a difference to the future of mental health support? Just seven days could change your life. Our MHFA instructors come from a range of backgrounds, and they all take different paths to becoming an instructor, but with one thing in common - a passion for improving mental health literacy by teaching people to recognise the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue, and how to respond.

If you’ve taken one of our MHFA training courses, we can teach you how to deliver your own courses independently. Our Instructor Training programme will give you all the tools you need to run a successful MHFA course. We now have a limited number of additional spaces coming up at short notice.

If you want to know more about instructor training, you can find information on our website, or watch our new film. Featuring four MHFA instructors, it takes a look at the unique paths that they have taken, the tools they learned, and the impact the training has had on their career.

Find out more about becoming an MHFA instructor.

Join the team at MHFA England

Are you passionate about joining an SME that’s making a difference to the future of mental health? Are you ready to use your knowledge and skills to add value to our growing and welcoming organisation?

We’re looking for a new Logistics Administrator to join our fast-growing central team, based in Old Street, London. Assisting with distribution, stock control and customer service, this role is integral to the smooth running of our day to day operations.

Sound like the perfect fit for you? Apply on our website now.

MHFA England is recruiting for various roles in the central team, so remember to check for postings on Charity Jobs or on the careers section of our website for upcoming vacancies.

Mental Health First Aid instructor awarded MBE

Armed Forces MHFA instructor Major Pauline Murray-Knight, of the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC), has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Nottingham-based Major Pauline Murray-Knight received an MBE in recognition of her selfless work as an advocate for mental health support in the military community, and her work as an instructor.


MHFA England CEO Poppy Jaman awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours

MHFA England CEO, Poppy Jaman, has been awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours in recognition of her services to people with mental health issues.

Poppy said, “The very fact that mental health advocates are beginning to be recognised at this level is an indication of the progress our whole community has made in recent years to change public perceptions of mental illness and mental health.”

Read more.

Slaughter and May lead the way on mental health in the legal sector

International law firm Slaughter and May has this year enhanced its workplace wellbeing strategy by training its HR and Learning Development teams in MHFA.

In response to the high pressure environment of the legal industry, this Magic Circle law firm has developed a broad approach to supporting staff’s mental wellbeing, which now includes providing MHFA training.

Read more.

Business in the Community launches Sleep and Recovery Toolkit

Business in the Community recently published a first-of-its-kind Sleep and Recovery Toolkit for employers, to support staff to improve sleeping patterns and boost productivity.

The toolkit, produced in association with Public Health England, aims to help employers to reverse the increase in poor sleeping patterns, and highlights both the moral and business case for good quality sleep.

Read more.

News in brief

  • On Time to Talk Day, Brogan Driscoll wrote for The Huffington Post on her experience of becoming a Mental Health First Aider
  • Mental Health First Aid training was covered in episode four of BBC’s Trust Me, I’m A Doctor
  • MHFA England’s Caroline Hounsell spoke to The Metro about supporting peer mental health
  • Coverage on BBC Sport included ex-international rugby player Nick De Luca’s recent MHFA training
  • A retrospective on the state of youth mental health in 2017 in the Huffington Post included input from MFHA England’s Caroline Hounsell
  • MHFA instructor Oz Osborne’s award winning 12th Man Campaign was covered in the East Anglian Daily Times
  • Funeral Service Times covered MHFA Instructor Anne Beckett-Allen’s work to support funeral directors’ mental health
  • York Press covered the funding of Mental Health First Aid training in memory of Gary Sheffield
  • MHFA England CEO Poppy Jaman’s OBE award was covered by the Sussex Express
  • Employers in Corby introducing MHFA training was included in the Northants Telegraph
  • MHFA England’s Caroline Hounsell spoke to University Business about the launch of our new Higher Education MHFA course
  • Coverage in Women’s Health included tips for approaching your boss about Mental Health First Aid
  • Materials Handling World encouraged organisations to take up Mental Health First Aid training
  • Lincoln Student Union’s funding of Higher Education Mental Health First Aid training was included in The Linc
  • Mental Health First Aid trained staff at Imperial College London were interviewed by the organisation’s online blog
Have you got news you’d like us to share? Send us an email on media@mhfaengland.org and we’ll add you to our next round up.

What's coming up?


Children’s Mental Health Week

Organised by Place2Be, the week aims to raise awareness of children and young people’s mental health. This Children’s Mental Health Week the theme is #BeingOurselves, and encourages children and young people to celebrate their uniqueness.

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Observed on 11th-17th February each year and organised by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, the week aims to spread kindness through schools, communities and homes. This year the theme is “Kindness starts with one”, remembering the people who inspire you to be better.

Practical Strategies for Safeguarding in Education

This annual conference meets for the 13th time to bring together the country’s leading safeguarding experts, and share practical strategies to ensure no child slips through the safeguarding net. MHFA England Director Caroline Hounsell will be speaking and chairing. Friends of MHFA can get 20% off the ticket price by entering MHFA20 at checkout.

Self-Injury Awareness Day

Organised by LifeSigns, Self-Injury Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of self-harm and offer support to those affected by self-harm.

University Mental Health Day

Run jointly by Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisers Network, University Mental Health Day is the national campaign to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in Higher Education settings.

Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference

Now in its 12th successful year, Health and Wellbeing at Work is all about improving the health and wellbeing of work-aged people. The team from Mental Health First Aid England will be presenting at the event, as well as running a stand in the exhibition space.

International Day of Happiness

The #InternationalDayOfHappiness aims to spark a movement for a happier world. On the day, many take the Action for Happiness pledge: “I will try to create more happiness in the world around me.”

Safeguarding Children in the Digital Age

This one day conference in London focuses on educating those working in the childcare sector with the skills to enable children and young people to stay safe online. Earlybird rates are available until 23rd February.

Young People and BME Mental Health Conference

Held in London, the conference aims to bring together stakeholders and young people to talk about the current state of mental health services for young BME people, and solutions going forward.

World Bipolar Day

Held annually on 30th March, World Bipolar Day aims to bring awareness internationally to bipolar disorders, and to eliminate the associated social stigma.
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