Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust putting mental health training first

‘Mental health training needs to be at the forefront of businesses, organisations and schools and not just as a form of tokenism’

Friday, 8th July 2022, 12:23 pm

The Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust has delivered mental health training to 67 people this year.

The ‘mental health first aid course’, developed by Mental Health First Aid England, gives trainees an understanding of what affects wellbeing, practical skills to spot the signs of mental illness, and the confidence to support others.

The aim is to encourage participants to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma.

The Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust has delivered mental health training to 67 people this year so far.

Anna Letts, inclusion officer at the NTFC Community Trust, said: “It’s so important to be there to listen to others and signpost.

“Knowing what to do when someone comes to you with their struggles is more crucial than ever.”

Businesses and organisations are being motivated to send their employees on this course “to improve and change their workplace culture”.

Anna, who is the mental health first aid lead at the trust and football club, said: “We need to embed this in all structures and stop seeing mental health training as a tick box.

“Some organisations are very cynical, but realise just how vital it is when they get started.

“This needs to be at the forefront of businesses, organisations and schools and not just as a form of tokenism.”

According to Mental Health First Aid England, 39 per cent of employees have experienced poor mental health due to work – and this is one of the reasons why the trust introduced the scheme.

They also revealed more than six in 10 managers said they have had to put organisational interests above staff wellbeing, which is why having “an appointed person for employees to talk to” is important.

Anna said: “We want to train as many people as possible and get our messages out there. We hope our network of resources is only going to get stronger.”

The national aim for Mental Health First Aid England is to train one in 10 adults and “get mental health first aid on the same parity as physical first aid,” says Anna.

Currently, one in 60 adults are trained nationally, which is steadily increasing.

Moving forward, the NTFC Community Trust is looking to target more men, due to the men’s mental health crisis, and address the question of ‘what next?’.

They have established a good system of giving the training, but want to offer a “second stage of support” for those who need further guidance on how to implement what they have learnt.

Businesses can use this training and qualification towards their Workplace Wellbeing Standards, through Northamptonshire County Council’s public health strategy – as well as the national Workplace Wellbeing Charter.

It is not just businesses who can take part, but schools too, and as the trust partner with many schools across Northamptonshire, they are keen to ensure the programme is implemented in them all.

Anna used to work in teaching before changing to her role at the trust three years ago, and could see the levels of “stress and anxiety” that build up in education.

She said: “Teachers can often spend so much time focusing on the children and putting them first that they forget about themselves.”

“We all need to look out for one another,” said Anna.

For more information on their mental health training, click here.