It's hard to imagine meeting anyone who hasn't been touched by a mental health emergency whether personally or through a family member or close friend. With emergency mental health care often being overlooked, the management team at K9 Protection felt it an important area to develop our understanding and ability to help people in a timely manner. When it came to prioritising the CPD made available to our staff, MHFA was the logical choice at the top of the list.
For too long there has been a disparity between the early training and treatments available for a fractured leg and an injured mind, and it's positive to see this slowly changing with the introduction of mental health first aid training. The aim of a mental health first aider is not to "cure" someone or to provide a diagnosis, but as with physical first aid training is to equip our guards with the confidence and knowledge to have a conversation with someone in need of a caring voice, and to signpost that person to the help they need; assisting them where necessary to get a foot in the door to that help.
With K9 Protection's student security team generally being the first point of contact in the small hours of the morning when people are often most vulnerable, it made sense to start rolling out the training to this section of our staff first. The initial cohort of trainees has seen our entire student security team trained and assessed with the Level 2 First Aid for Mental Health qualification and two members of our operations team trained with the Level 3 First Aid for Mental Health for Supervisors, which includes all of the training within the Lv2 qualification along with some additional tools to assist us in looking after the mental health needs of our team.
With Covid concerns never far away, the training sessions were carried out by our training partner, Your North via a video conference, with assessments being made by way of recorded video calls. Whilst not ideal, the training was informative and educational, and despite the challenges of the platform managed to remain interesting.