A new hub has been launched to deliver mental health and suicide awareness training across North Yorkshire.

Headfirst is a new training hub which aims to create mentally healthy communities and workplaces across the county.

It has been launched by the County Council, who will be working with a range of approved training providers, including MIND Harrogate, Scarborough Survivors, North Yorkshire Sport and others, to deliver the training and tackle discrimination and stigma surrounding mental health issues. The hub also aims to tackle mental health problems caused by loneliness and social and emotional isolation, as well as reducing suicides.

Local communities worst affected by suicide were recently given NHS England funding to contribute to a national reduction in suicides. This funding has enabled the development of the Headfirst website, providing a range of online, as well as face-to-face training to people living and working in North Yorkshire.   

Areas of North Yorkshire with the highest rates of suicide vary across the county and are often linked with deprivation.

We are working with a directory of Approved Training Providers on the hub; 

  • North Yorkshire Sport
  • MIND in Harrogate
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Scarborough Survivors
  • Golden Tree CIC
  • Dextra Management
  • Starfish
  • North Yorkshire County Council Training and Learning Service. 

Throughout the lockdown period due to the Covid-19 crisis, seven, separate online training courses were delivered in North Yorkshire.

This training has engaged 87 people to date.

Headfirst’s online hub aims to provide training in areas such as Mental Health First Aid and also invites people to become trainers by attending “train the trainer” sessions. It will also function as resource on mental health and wellbeing.

The Skipton-based organisation, CAST: Learning Solutions, which offers training to build people’s knowledge and skills on a range of mental health and safeguarding issues, put together some of the online training for those supporting young people in the county. The organisation is a Headfirst provider.

Katie Marlow, founder of CAST: Learning Solutions, said: “Early into the lockdown across the country we worked closely with Public Health North Yorkshire to put together training for those working with or supporting young people across North Yorkshire.

“By working swiftly with Mental Health First Aid England to get their Youth half day course adapted for online delivery we were able to make this available from mid-May.

“Being able to support our own community's mental health by being part of the Headfirst Training Hub is a wonderful opportunity for CAST: Learning Solutions.

“We are based in Embsay, North Yorkshire and have a professional background in mental health services working right across the County over the last 20 years.

“The Hub will make access to training and learning options much more accessible to those who work and live in our beautiful part of the world.

“In turn, this will enhance the skills, knowledge and confidence of those supporting anyone experiencing mental health issues, as well as improve learners' understanding of how to look after their own mental health.

“Headfirst is a significant step towards educating, up-skilling and supporting the supporters, as well as tackling the stigma and discrimination which surrounds mental health.”

Pat Sowa, Director at Starfish, Headfirst Provider said: “As a member of the North Yorkshire Suicide Prevention Strategy Group I am delighted that Headfirst is being launched in North Yorkshire as a Hub for mental health training.

“Being able to deliver Mental Health First Aid in the community is the foundation of wellbeing for all of us. And it’s the best way to prevent crisis and reduce suicide.”

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “The launch of this hub is a great step forward in improving the mental health and wellbeing of people in communities and work places across North Yorkshire. We want to train as many people as possible across the county. The more we do this, the more we will improve people’s mental health, wellbeing and emotional resilience and tackle issues such as isolation or loneliness.”

Apply here to become an Approved Training Provider or for further information. Find more information here.