The importance of Mental Health Awareness

This year, all staff at Gateshead College completed a mental health awareness training course, to ensure everyone had a strong understanding of mental health in the work place and so they could  spot the signs and symptoms of a friend or colleague in distress.

IT Technician, Steven White shares his views on why this training was so important to him:

When I was asked to attend the Mental Health Awareness Training programme I had my reservations about what I would get out of the course and whether it would be useful; I couldn’t have been more wrong as it has completely changed my perspective on mental health challenges. 

Whilst working through the modules, although I already knew facts such as one in four people suffer a mental health issue within their lifetime, I began to recognise traits and trends and could relate to several examples in both my work and home life. I always try to assess any given situation before doing my best to help others: from asking someone how they are or how they feel, to going through a task with someone several times in order to allow them to understand how things work. I understand how this can help someone feel more relaxed and more at ease with a situation they may be going through.

I have been involved with a serious incident since completing my course. A message I was sent one evening, which I saw by chance, led me to help someone in great need. Without my help, they may have taken their life due to being overcome by a situation and unable to see a way out; a situation that no one should have to go through just because they cannot see a way out nor have someone to talk to.

The Mental Health awareness course has been a fantastic help to me, giving me insights into different aspects of mental health. It has helped both myself and others to understand and help friends, colleagues and close family members who may be in need of a chat or in need of some additional help.

I even find myself saying please and thank you more often than previously. Manners don’t cost anything, and saying “please”, “thank you”, “morning” or “afternoon“ can make someone who is having a bad day feel appreciated or more valued.

Looking back on the course, I am pleased I took the time to read each part in detail as it has given me an insight into different aspects of mental health and how I can help others. I would encourage others to take the time to read the notes fully, as whilst some may initially have reservations about the benefit of the course, you never know when these issues may arise. Ensuring you have the best knowledge available may help you recognise when someone needs help.