COLLEAGUES at Copeland Borough Council are now trained in Mental Health First Aid.
Staff from the housing, council tax and benefits teams are now equipped to deal with people suffering from mental illness including those at crisis point seeking council services.
Colleagues undertook a two-day intensive course provided by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) which included: raising awareness and recognising the signs of mental illness, developing a better understanding, reducing the stigma and dealing with those who have depression and anxiety.
The group were also taught how to communicate effectively with those suffering from mental illness and which organisations to signpost sufferers to.
Gemma Coward, Senior Housing Options Advisor at Copeland Borough Council, said: “Often our customers have hit rock bottom and can suffer serious a range of mental health issues including depression and anxiety, as a result of their current situation. Therefore, it is vitally important that we understand how to work effectively and sensitively with those that are suffering.
“The training gave me a deeper understanding of the complex issues that surround mental illness. It also taught me how to communicate more effectively with our customers and colleagues.
“We work side by side with agencies set up to support people with mental illnesses and the course also enables me to recognise the signs and signpost early on, in the hope of preventing people reaching a crisis point.”
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “I’m delighted to see colleagues once again going above and beyond in their line of duty.
“These teams are passionate about providing the best service possible for all of our customers and this training is just another example of them pushing to better understand the complex needs of our residents.
“I’m enormously proud of all those who took part in the training and am sure that residents will feel the benefit of this for years to come.”