The Covid-19 pandemic has proved extremely challenging for people of all ages, with 1 in 4 believed to experience a mental health problem of some kind in the UK annually. Aware of the difficulties faced by young people across our community, our diocesan Youth Adviser and three Confirmation Catechists decided to act, and have just qualified as Youth Mental Health First Aiders.
The team attended training provided by Mental Health First Aid England, learning how to respond to depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders, as well as psychosis and suicide prevention. Speaking about the importance of the new initiative, our Youth Adviser Lizzie Wakeling said:
"Our young people are going through a particularly difficult time at the moment, a time of isolation, uncertainty, and for many, a time of bereavement and anxiety. To know that they can be supported with their mental health in our parishes is a huge comfort."
"I was delighted to learn alongside some of our wonderful Confirmation Catechists -the trainer for the course was also aparishioner in our Diocese so it was great to build those connections."
Speaking about her experience of the course, Elizabeth from Worth Abbey parish added:
"I approached this course thinking that it would help me to deal with emergency, crisis situations, just like physical first aid. What I actually found was that it is more about relationships, spotting warning signs in those that you love and care about, and then giving you the confidence to engage in conversation in a safe an appropriate way."
The Diocese is keen expand the mental health and wellbeing network. If you are interested in taking part in future courses and joining the Youth Mental Health First Aiders team please contact our Youth Adviser Lizzie.