A million people across England will be trained in basic mental health first aid skills, as part of a new £15 million programme to improve resilience and help people recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental health problems in others.
The campaign, which will be designed and delivered by Public Health England, will help people to assess their own mental wellbeing and learn techniques to reduce stress and improve their emotional resilience, as well as improving the public’s knowledge, skills and confidence on mental health. The campaign will launch next year and continue for three years, and comes with £15 million government funding.
Public Health England (PHE) will work closely with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and other mental health organisations to ensure the campaign builds on the knowledge and experience of the sector.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity said:
“We welcome the news that up to a million people across England will be helped to improve their understanding of mental health. While the national conversation around mental health is much more open than ever before, initiatives like this should help address the importance of helping all of us to understand mental health.
“It’s encouraging to see this programme also recognising the importance not only of how to respond effectively to signs of mental health problems in others, but also of managing our own mental health and personal resilience. As the first programme of its kind, testing and evaluation of this programme and its impact will be key. We know from our own work that building resilience can be vital.
“The Government also has to anticipate the impact that increased awareness will inevitably have on demand for services, and ensure that the NHS is equipped to respond. The five year plan for improving mental health services was launched last year and includes an additional £1billion of investment in mental health services by 2020-21. We need to see this plan delivered, with funding reaching the front line, so that people with mental health problems get the help they need, when they need it.”