05 December 2019

Public and third sectors join up to offer mental health training

A multi-agency group is taking a new approach to ensuring colleagues across the public and third sectors who are involved in supporting young people receive mental health training.

Aberdeenshire’s GIRFEC Mental Health Group – which brings together police, health, social work, education and third sector staff – has developed a three-tier programme to ensure the right training and support is in place for workers to ensure they can better assist young people who are experiencing poor mental health. 

Aberdeenshire Council’s Principal Educational Psychologist Carron Douglas explains: “Our aim is to ensure everyone who works with young people across the multi-agency workforce has access to an appropriate level of mental health training.

“There will be three options, depending on the level and nature of contact an employee has with young people. For example, for those who work in school offices an online training module will be available from early next year.

“Colleagues who have more in-depth relationships with young people, such as class teachers, will be equipped with a series of modules on topics like bereavement, self-harm, anxiety and low mood. They will also have access to mental health first aid training which we have already begun to deliver. 

“There will also be bespoke training pathways for those who carry out one-to-one intervention work with young people, tailored specifically to their role. This may be relevant to guidance teachers as well as police officers involved in child protection and social workers.

“Mental health is a strategic priority for Aberdeenshire Council and our partners. It is one of five priorities in our Children’s Services Plan. This new offering is about doing as much as we can to ensure colleagues across Aberdeenshire are equipped as well as possible.”

Relationship support charity The Spark represents the third sector on the group. North Region Lead, Emma Cameron says: “We want to ensure everyone working and volunteering with children and young people know this training exists so that they can become more confident in this area. Using a multi-agency approach has ensured the development of the right training at each level.”