Why is psychological first aid training so important in schools right now? I have noticed on the first few weeks back that the children are coming back with a completely different attitude to learning, schools and life in general. Children are now far more fearful about their surroundings, and of course the teachers and support staff need to be able to identify this and pick up on the changes.
The John Hopkin’s university course (Free Mental Health Professional Development Course) was designed for more sudden, immediate mental impacts, but I am taking the view that there is something in this course for everyone. It teaches teachers how to become better active listeners and to pin point signs of mental distress. It also helps to build up both resilience and community cohesion, which I know for a fact, are skills I am actively trying to instill into my own class. Other courses I am trying include learning online and blended learning.
It also helps teachers to prepare for the worst possible outcomes in a school, such as a bomb attack, gun attack or suicide within the school and know what measures to take. These skills are very transferable and useful throughout your career. First Aid training for the mind should be just as important, if not more so, than first aid training for the body.
As I recently heard a wise doctor say, while people say if you are feeling mentally unwell, you need to pull yourself together and simply ‘get over it’, as it is all in your head, you wouldn’t say to someone with a broken leg ‘get up and walk and get over it’, it is all in your leg! You would show care, compassion and understanding.
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I highly recommend paying for the certificate at the start of the course, as you will discover that you are then motivated to both complete the course and do well. If you have put a little skin in the game, you study harder. Likewise, you will then leave the course with a lovely certificate which you can add to your amazing teacher portfolio.
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