Mental Health First Aid Training: Youth

Kensington & Chelsea Mind launch Mental Health First Aid, Youth, in memory of Councillor Fiona Buxton.

In the week where growing concerns about children’s mental health has been highlighted, we announce the launch of Mental Health First Aid, Youth, in memory of the late Councillor Fiona Buxton.   Councillor Buxton, known and respected by many,  worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people suffering from mental health issues in RBK&C and had a particular interest in the challenges facing young people.  

Kensington and Chelsea Mind was chosen to receive Councillor Buxton’s memorial collection, from the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation.  We felt privileged and proud to receive this funding and were keen to create a legacy that was fitting to her memory.  Kensington and Chelsea Mind is here to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn to for advice and support.  Our aim was to use our fund of 2,500 as seed funding, to expand our work to create mentally healthy communities through awareness raising, education and support for the particular needs of young people.  

In the run up to the election, our partners, London Cyrenians Housing, held a political hustings with local councillors to raise awareness about mental health and to put young people’s mental health firmly on the new Government’s agenda for change.

We contacted schools, youth projects and community adolescent mental health teams to ask how Kensington and Chelsea Mind could be effective in promoting and supporting the mental health needs of young people.  

We considered the needs of our community and how we could work to support parents, friends, and peers to feel better equipped to recognise and respond to young peoples’ mental distress.  

Most of all, we wanted to provide effective, evidence based support and we wanted to reach as many people as possible.

Our ideas started small but quickly grew. With the funds available, we thought we might offer a support group for young people but our research didn’t support this idea as the most effective way forward.

The more we explored and discussed ideas, the more we heard about the need for training   and just how ill-equipped people felt in their ability to respond supportively to mental health issues.  We quickly realised that by training staff, professionals, parents and friends we could equip our community to reach out and support many more vulnerable young people over a longer period of time.

Our aim is to train 100 mental health youth first aiders, from all sections of our community, to work within their families, pupils, communities and organisations to recognise symptoms, provide valuable support, encouragement and reassurance to young people experiencing mental distress.

Mental Health First Aid, Youth, is an internationally recognised course designed specifically for people who teach, work with, live or care for young people aged 8 – 18. 

Our first course will run in April 2016 and we will continue to deliver Mental First Aid, Youth until we reach our target of 100, accredited youth first aiders. 

For futher information contact Aidan Moloney 0208 964 1333 ext 4 or email aidan.moloney@kcmind.org.uk

In addition to the memorial funding received from the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, Mind’s Trustees have allocated a further 2,500, in Councillor Buxton’s memory, to enable us to continue to work with the needs of young people..  In the coming year, we will be looking at evidence based treatments and support services aimed specifically at young people and ways of providing this support within our local community.

We are grateful to everyone who donated money in Councillor Buxton’s memory and to the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation for their continued support for mental health.