It is now much more common for Lodge, Chapter, Provincial Almoners, and their teams to encounter cases of anxiety, depression, and more complex mental issues.
In order to be aware of and able to address these issues the Middlesex Provincial Almoner team attended a two-day course provided by Mental Health First Aider England (MHFA England).
This was facilitated by Paul Sully, Provincial Grand Charity Steward (Holy Royal Arch), who had been aware of the MHFA from his work with Lowland Rescue.
The event itself was organised by Ivan Chu of the Provincial Almoner team and funded by the Province of Middlesex Benevolent Fund.
Uxbridge Masonic Centre kindly and generously provided the venue and facilities.
The course included sessions on anxiety, depression, suicide, personality disorders, self-harm, eating disorders and psychosis, with the aim of providing training on mental health first aid.
This is equivalent to medical first aid, by providing initial support until professional help is available.
Mental Health First Aiders are not qualified to treat people with mental health issues, but they are trained to recognise and communicate with those struggling with them and to know where to secure any professional support that may be required.
Hugh Saville, Provincial Almoner commented: “We found the course quite challenging as we covered difficult topics in some detail and some of the roleplay coursework was demanding. The range and complexity of the course content is best illustrated by the 275-page training manual given to us. The course was excellently presented and all of us gained a lot of very useful information from it”
The certificates issued to all attending the course remain valid for 3 years.
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