Edge Hill has proudly become the first university in the country to provide its sports students with the opportunity to gain a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) qualification.
Places on this UK Department of Health Accredited course were offered to all undergraduate Sports Development and Sports Studies students with the aim of helping to raise awareness of mental health issues within society.
Originally developed in Australia, but now internationally recognised in 21 countries, the MHFA programme provided students with a wealth of skills and knowledge, including how to spot the early signs of a mental health problem, providng first aid, guiding someone towards the right support and ways to help reduce the stigma attached to the illness.
Andy Smith, Associate Head for the Department of Sport and Physical Activity, explains, “There is a growing interest amongst our students around the mental health and wellbeing of themselves and others. Hopefully, the success of the MHFA course at Edge Hill will encourage other institutions to consider providing a similar opportunity.”
Course instructor Christine Clark, from Merseyside Workplace Training, continues, “I’m so pleased that Edge Hill is adding the MHFA to the life skills of so many of its students. The group instinctively understood the importance of the course and I look forward to working with the University further in the future.”
Betty Kitchener, the co-founder and CEO of Mental Health First Aid Australia, who was awarded the Order of Australia medal for her efforts in developing and disseminating MHFA, adds, “The MHFA is all about empowering the whole community to take action regarding better mental health, so it is wonderful to see Edge Hill University pioneering this work with their students.”
Andy concludes, “Completing this course and working with a range of other organisations, such as Everton in the Community, provides our students with vital opportunities to apply their theoretical work within practical settings. This will help ensure they enter employment with the skills needed to address, as well as discuss openly, the mental health needs of their fellow employees, clients and members of the communities with whom they will serve.”