The course, sponsored by NHS England and North Yorkshire County Council, was delivered by Pat Sowa, a former headteacher, advisor in wellbeing, MHFA Instructor and author of the recently published best-seller Take My Hand.
Participants on the course, which was held online, increased awareness of young people’s mental health and some of the issues that can affect this age group. Research and evaluation show that taking part in an MHFA England course also helps to reduce stigma around mental ill health, can boost knowledge and confidence in dealing with mental health issues and promotes early intervention which enables recovery.
The session focussed on parents and is part of Harrogate Grammar School’s strategy for supporting its community’s mental health and wellbeing.
Tim Milburn, Deputy Headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School, said:
We feel very fortunate to have been able to share this course with our parents and that Pat was able to deliver the session. Raising awareness and opening up discussion around this subject is very important in reducing stigma and aiding young people to manage their emotions.
Pat delivered this course with such purpose and sensitivity as well as giving participants some really practical strategies to open up difficult conversations.
This pilot session has proven to be both very popular and was well received. One parent commented that “It was a really helpful, easy to follow course. I feel very, very lucky to be part of a community that is openly discussing mental health and being so supportive around it.
It is hoped that the demand for places, and the quality of this pilot session, will now mean that this type of support can be opened up to more parents in the Harrogate district.
Pat Sowa said:
The work with parents to raise awareness of mental health is a vital part of developing a culture of wellbeing in the school and wider community. I’m delighted to have worked with Harrogate Grammar on this pioneering training.