Lessons in Mental Health in the Falkirk Area

Training courses in mental health first aid have been delivered by NHS Forth Valley in six secondary schools in the Falkirk area, with pupils reporting increased skills and confidence in recognising mental health problems.

The programme involved senior youngsters from High Schools in Braes, Bo’Ness, Denny, Graeme, Grangemouth and St Mungo’s and focused on attitudes, recovery, the impact of alcohol and drugs, suicide, self-harm, depression, anxiety and psychosis. It also provided information about mental health problems and practical skills to allow people to respond to someone in need.

Feedback was extremely positive with young people reporting that not only were they more aware of mental health issues in Scotland, but how, as first aiders, they were also able to offer better support and advice.

NHS Forth Valley Senior Health Promotion Officer, Fiona Macfarlane, said: “Often when young people experience mental health problems they find it very difficult to speak about them but this course is about giving youngsters the skills and confidence to offer peer support.”

Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) training is a national programme delivered over 12 hours to give people the confidence to respond to a person in distress or experiencing a mental health problem. Like the more familiar physical first aid courses, mental health first aid is designed to provide comfort and preserve life until appropriate or professional help arrives or the crisis resolves.

Pupils involved in the programme are pictured at a training event at Braes High School.