GB Rowing Team undertakes Mental Health First Aid training

Mental Health First Aid training is designed to help people recognise symptoms of mental health issues and how to deal with them

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Mental Health First Aid England

Athletes and staff on the GB Rowing Team are improving their knowledge and understanding of mental health issues by undergoing training from Mental Health First Aid England.

With one in four of the population experiencing some form of mental health issue each year, the Mental Health First Aid training is designed to help people recognise symptoms in themselves and in those around them.

A further aim of the training is to help individuals prepare for how to deal with a mental health issue if it arises, so as to limit the effect it has on physical health and performance in the sporting environment.

Trainer Hazel Sawyers of Mental Health First Aid England says: “When someone opens up and talks about their mental health problems it’s like a whole weight comes off their shoulders.

“You can see it in the way they start behaving, and while it may be a weight on your shoulder in terms of thoughts and feelings, it can have an effect on your physical health as well.”

GB Rowing Team’s sport psychologist Chris Shambrook hopes the training will help normalise the process of talking about mental health concerns.

“If [athletes] get a particular pain in their body, everyone knows the exact route to go down – through the physios and doctors,” he said. “It’s completely normalised to deal with things that are a concern from a physical point of view.

“It would be great to do that from a mental perspective as well. If there are any concerns they’ve got that are more than the normal stress and pressure, they know how to deal with that.”

Sawyers adds: “The training will help people to realise that we are all individuals and we all have different things that trigger a response in us.

“It helps people become more aware of mental health and wellbeing and more alert to noticing changes in themselves and their colleagues. It also gives them the confidence and tools to support their colleagues and guide them towards appropriate help.”

Find out more about Mental Health First Aid training by visiting mhfaengland.org

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