Falkirk pupils coached on mental health ‘first aid’

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Courses in mental health first aid have been delivered by NHS Forth Valley to six secondary schools in and around Falkirk - and they’re said to have made an impact.

Senior youngsters from Braes, Bo’ness, Denny, Graeme, Grangemouth and St Mungo’s high schools learned about the impact of alcohol and drugs, and the facts on suicide, self-harm, depression, anxiety and psychosis.

The courses also aimed to provide practical skills to allow people to respond effectively to someone in need.

NHS Forth Valley says young people who took part said they’d not only learned about mental issues but could now also offer better support and advice as first aiders.

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 first aid courses on physical issues, mental health first aid is designed to provide comfort and preserve life until appropriate or professional help arrives - or the crisis is resolved.