‘Front line’ training helps Notts Armed Forces

Councillor Keith Girling, the Councils Armed Forces Champion.
Councillor Keith Girling, the Councils Armed Forces Champion.

Training on spotting and handling mental health issues in Armed Forces personnel has been rolled out to the ‘front line’ that deals with them on a regular basis.

Specialist training to help people spot the symptoms of mental illness and provide initial first aid to current and former Armed Forces personnel was provided in May and June.

Nottinghamshire County Council secured funding from the Community Covenant Fund and has worked in partnership with 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group and Forces in the Community to deliver the courses.

The Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid (AFMHFA) course is open to anyone that comes into contact with the armed forces community, whether that be serving personnel, reservists, cadet associations or their families.

Issues covered include suicide and depression, psychosis, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The topics have been specifically tailored to the Armed Forces community and its culture with delegates learning how to -

n Spot the early signs of mental health issue and gaining confidence to provide help and support

n Provide help on a first aid basis

n Help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others

n Stop a mental health issue from getting worse and aid a faster recovery

n Guide someone towards the right professional support

n Reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues

Mental Health disorders among UK Armed Forces increased by 78 per cent between 2008 and 2016, according to Ministry of Defence figures.

Councillor Keith Girling, Armed Forces champion at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “This important training is part of the county council’s on-going commitment to support our current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families.

“Whilst mental health awareness is on the increase, thanks mainly to recent high profile campaigns such as those launched by Prince William and Prince Harry, we still have a lot of work to do. For obvious reasons, current and former armed forces personnel are vulnerable to these issues and the demand and need to support them is only likely to increase as a legacy of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

For more, visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/supporting-armed-forces