Flourishing@Wycombe: Mental Health First Aid
In recent years, society has become increasingly aware of the importance of our mental health as well as our physical health. We now have a better understanding of the fact that we all have mental health and that there may be times in our lives when we need to pay a little more focus to this facet of our overall health. We are also far more versed in the importance of providing the right support for people who are struggling. The help and assistance that someone requires will vary in the same way that it does for our physical health and, as with physical health, first aid can be a really important way to provide help, care and support.
The Mental Health First Aid course is a well-established training programme that aims to provide instruction for mental health first aiders in the same way that we are used to traditional first aiders. The focus is upon how we can provide help and support for the people who need it and when they need it, often as an initial step to receiving additional care from appropriate professionals. This particular pathway is focussed upon young people and their particular needs, which is especially important when one considers that half of mental ill health starts by age 15 years and 75% develops by the age of 18 years.
Here at Wycombe Abbey we are committed to providing an environment that not only cares for and supports young people, but allows them to grow and to flourish. We want our pupils to reach for the stars but recognise that it is important that there is a safety net there for pupils who need it. It was for this reason that we decided to develop our ability to train staff as Mental Health First Aiders and we have taken the opportunity to work with Mental Health England to train Miss Blunt and Mrs Fawkes as Mental Health First Aid Instructors. This has then allowed us to deliver the course to our staff within the School giving them expertise and confidence as well as the Mental Health First Aid qualification. Our Housemistresses and Heads of Section were among the first cohort to complete this programme in the School, and they have been followed by our Assistant Housemistresses. This is part of our ongoing work to provide outstanding care for pupils, to ensure that our dedicated staff have access to the highest quality professional development making Wycombe Abbey the place where our wonderful young people can flourish in all of their endeavours.
Deputy Head (Pupils)