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Training provider pledges to deliver free mental health training to at least 2,000 participants in 2021

Vikki Sylvester

Staffordshire-based @Acaciatraining has seen demand for its range of mental health courses increase significantly in the past year and believes that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a positive impact on more businesses and individuals recognising the value of such training. It is, as a result, committing to reaching more than 2,000 participants with its free one-day mental health first aid course by the end of 2021. 

With recent reports from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggesting that levels of depression have more than doubled since before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and countless reports predicting the impact that a return to office-based working will have on employees, the importance of recognising and dealing with issues of mental health has never been more pronounced. This has been a long-time coming though as CEO Victoria Sylvester comments:

“First aid training has been commonplace in businesses for many years, yet when we launched our first mental health training course in 2018 it was still a relatively untapped area of training provision.

“We launched a free two-hour mental health awareness course during the first lockdown and witnessed phenomenal demand amongst frontline workers in particular. Indeed, the pandemic has brought the importance of recognising and managing mental health to the fore and we know that businesses and individuals alike across all sectors are keen to access this type of training. That is why we’ve not only extended our free course to a full day session, but we’re also extending the reach of this course with an aim to engaging with at least 2,000 participants by the end of this year.”

In addition to the free one-day course, Acacia Training also offers courses in Youth Mental Health (two-day course); Adult Mental Health First Aid (two-day course); and a Mental Health Awareness course which is available as both a half day and full day session. The courses are accredited by Mental Health England.

The one-day course that is now being offered for free covers issues that affect mental health and provides guidance on how to support others, including early warning signs, sources of stress in the workplace, risk factors and how to give support and information. Participants can then progress, should they wish to, on to a two-day course that provides a deeper understanding of the issues that affect people’s mental health and teaches them practical skills that can be used every day, including how to spot symptoms, assessing the risk of self-harm, confidentiality, and the best way to offer support.

Victoria concludes:

“Prevention is always better than cure and it’s been fantastic to see more and more companies contact us to find out how they can best manage wellbeing at work, as well as actively signing up to attend our Mental Health First Aid courses. In time, we hope that these will become as commonplace as regular first aid training.

“We’re now seeing that those businesses and organisations that have already benefitted from our free training are keen to invest in our two-day course and as a result, we’re already booking a series of sessions to take place later in the summer.”

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