Students at The Sixth Form Bolton have qualified as mental health first aiders.

A total of 13 pupils recently qualified on the training course, which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. 

The latest round of qualifications makes a total of more than 40 students at the Deane Road sixth form with the achievement.

The course, accredited by MHFA England, is offered by Sarah Ball, the sixth form’s assistant principal.

A qualified mental health first aider adult trainer herself, Sarah offers the course to all students and staff regularly each academic year.

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While the training doesn’t teach pupils to be therapists, the college says it does it teaches people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially stop a crisis from happening.

Now, the students have learned to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping themselves safe.

Each student learned how to empower someone to access support to make a recovery or manage symptoms through materials including self-help books or websites, therapy services, and support groups.

The sixth form says those who have qualified will have access to continuous support beyond their initial certification, meaning the sixth form has a large team of confident, empowered and motivated students to carry out their mental health first aider roles. 

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Sarah said: “Once again this is a huge achievement, and all have committed themselves to the challenging content of the MHFA course.

“These mental health first aiders will now go on to reduce stigma around mental health, encourage support, reduce discrimination surrounding mental health and offer a positive outlook of recovery to all. 

“So, a huge congratulations to all of our mental health first aiders.

“They have achieved a fantastic qualification that will help and support both themselves, friends, family, peers and colleagues.”

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