A new project to help mental wellbeing across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has launched.
Mental Health Friendly Places is a new initiative that aims to train local organisations and groups to become a Mental Health Friendly Place.
The partnership project is led by Leicestershire County Council and includes Leicester City Council and Rutland County Council and offers free training programmes delivered by a dedicated team. The training will help any organisation recognise the signs and symptoms of poor mental health, have healthy conversations and signpost to local mental health and wellbeing services.
Mental Health Friendly Places has been created to help support and encourage local people to start or support conversations about mental health. Everyone is encouraged to engage from barbers, and pubs to tattoo artists and community centres.
A survey by Mind charity found that one in four feel a non-judgemental space in the community where they could talk and listen to others would support their wellbeing.
Training is split into three levels, and ranges from awareness sessions through to mental health first aid training. Loughborough community centre John Storer House is already well on the way to becoming a mental health friendly place after getting involved with the project during its pilot phase.
Karen Frostick, Director at John Storer House said: “This training will provide us with the knowledge to have good positive conversations with all who use our facilities. We support a large amount of different people, and with mental health becoming more and more prominent in our conversations, we think becoming a safe space to discuss these topics will be highly beneficial for all the people we support day to day.”
Cllr Vi Dempster Assistant City Mayor for education, libraries and community centres, said: “Mental health friendly places are making support accessible within local communities. In Leicester we already have organisations trained in mental health first aid and this builds on that to provide a wider community resource to support people where and when they need it.
“People do not always want to access services due to time constraints or fear of being judge, this way people can have conversations about their mental health in an environment they feel comfortable in.
“By upskilling members of the community in mental health friendly places, we are giving them the confidence to have discussions about mental health and wellbeing. They will recognise signs and symptoms of poor mental health, ask appropriate questions, listen effectively and signpost to local mental health and wellbeing services.”
More information about how to sign up and become a mental health friendly place can be found at https://www.startaconversation.co.uk/mental-health-friendly-places