A course open to all Croydon residents, funded by Croydon Council and Transport for London, is being offered to help people become mental health first aiders.
The campaign comes after the mental health charity Mind revealed the scale of the impact of the coronavirus on mental health. More than one in five adults with no previous experience of mental health problems said their mental health is now poor or very poor following a survey over the summer.
In response the council and Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid – a voluntary network launched in March – has launched the two-day online course targeting people who are already providing informal support for local residents – whether you’re a sports coach, a trusted auntie or just a neighbour who cares.
“The pandemic has caused incredible loss, stress and uncertainty. However, in the face of huge challenges Croydon’s community has united to support each other and we are encouraging Croydon residents to keep volunteering and take this funded course in order to help others in our community. I am delighted we have been able to fund a thousand places for our mental health first aiders and really value our partnership with Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid”
Councillor Janet Campbell, cabinet member for families, health and social care
So far more than 200 applications have been received for the training run by Mental Health First Aid England and more than 100 people have already completed the course. Applications include more than 40 mental health organisations as well as churches, mosques, colleges, businesses, schools and charities.
Rowenna Davis, organiser for Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid said, “Whilst the physical suffering from coronavirus is well known, we are all still getting to grips with the mental impact. Many families have suffered directly or even lost loved ones and all of us still feel the pressures of lockdown.
“While volunteers can never replace frontline professionals, residents are often the first ones to recognise when someone they know or love is suffering. This training should help people recognise the signs of developing mental health problems and provide guidance for early intervention.”
To apply for the course email MHFA@croydon.gov.uk
You can find out more on Facebook at ‘Croydon Covid 19 Mutual Aid’ and Twitter @CroydonCovidMA