Mental Health Awareness Training

I’m looking to possibly run a weekend camp in 2017 with the theme being Mental Health Awareness (I’m Also looking into some potential Participatory budgeting funding specifically for MH to cover some costs). Has anyone had any experience with past ventures of this nature or similar?
Some things I’m currently considering:
Mental Health Awareness
Five Ways to Better Mental Health

It would be useful to hear people thoughts

Surrey Wing ran two MH sessions for several staff throughout LASER last year. It might be worth getting in touch with them. I can probably find out who ran them if you’re interested.

That would be grand cheers.

This would be interesting to see what HQAC feels its responsibilities are in relation to the mental health and general well-being of the volunteers. Would accepting any degree of responsibility give the impression of being an employer. The constant juggling of everything to ensure you comply with ATC requirements could be a huge negative in terms of mental health.

Speaking to people who have left the Corps, apart from seeing youngsters develop they don’t miss anything else and always seem happier in themselves and in many respects this is similar to people when they retire from work, where the only thing they miss is the daily interaction with people. The other similarity is they don’t get bored by having nothing to do.

MH is somthing I feel very passionate about given the fact is is the basis of my “real life” Job.
Personally I think the ACO has a responsibility to look after every member youth and adult alike.

We need our volunteers to have acsess to the tools they need to carry out the ACOs objectives… some of those tools need to revolve around Positive Mental Health including how to maintain it and how to identify the basics of someone who is struggling. Knowing what help is out there is essential! Some may argue that it’s none of our business but I think duty of care challenges this. I don’t expect staff to be MH experts just the same as I don’t expect staff to be medical experts, however all CFAV staff must undergo basic first aid training… why not the same for MH? Likewise if we provide cadets with some basic MH tools and knowledge maybe they will be able to put it to use if and when needed- like many of the other skills we are proud to teach.

Incidentally the weekend I would like to run would be for cadets… It is a sad truth but MH services for children are stretched beyond belief like so many others. Like the saying goes knowledge is power so let’s give a little knowledge that may help a great deal…

This of course is just my opinion and not a venture I would take lightly but like all good ideas it’s got to start somewhere.

Again I’d love to hear feedback from any ACC member regardless of ACO status particularly in regards to possible content for a weekend.

Many thanks


Whilst I applaud your enthusiasm, I feel cautious about getting involved in this. It’s a niche area to truly understand and the general lay person can only signpost to what are failing services. Sadly.

Unfortunately I agree with PO Prune in that it is a good cause and I have seen the effects of MH on staff but it is something that the organisation isn’t geared up towards, we would only shift the problem to another body.

I would perhaps though suggest in contacting your wing padre. The wing padre’s are meant to be looking after staff welfare in the wing so they may have more of an insight into this from the corps point of view and help to put your course into action.

I’d have to agree with the two above… If it’s something you’re passionate about it is best contacting OC Admin at HQAC as he was looking at setting something up last year. You can get the email from sharepoint.

I would though highlight that OC admin you have spoken about has now left

This is still in progress, I believe Comdt AC is keen on it. So worth a shot

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I would say it is far from niche and is far more prevalent than we might like to admit. The problem with mental health is that like safeguarding it is far too broad to fully understand all of the possibilities. All that we do wrt to safeguarding is highlight a very small part around CSE and hopefully enable us to recognise some signs relating to children who are at risk of harm, so to do something along these line wrt mental health can’t be a bad thing surely.

I think that the Corps puts people under a lot of stress at times and if we were better able to identify this and for the Corps to put things in place to help people it may actually help with retention if it was better understood why people feel this way. What currently happens is people either leave OR go NEP and then don’t come back.

Off topic, but i’d be surprised if you did stuff regarding CSE…

Child Sexual Exploitation and protection of children and vulnerable groups from it is the basic tenet for CRB / DBS and is probably the biggest thing that the ATC, other youth organisations and schools are concerned about as it can grab the headlines like nothing else.

My thoughts so far for a weekend session for cadets include:

Activities around 5 ways to better MH as can be seen at:

I’d like to run a Mindfulness workshop (brief look at what mindfulness is and it’s uses ):

Other interactive workshops would cover: confidence and self esteem, assertiveness, resilience and of course some basic MH.

Some parts would be covered by ACO staff with experience in the relevant areas whilst specialist support from external bodies could be considered hence the consideration for a funding application that has come up.

I think it’s brilliant if the ACO is looking at this overall but I want to provide cadets with somthing usefull just Now if possible. School pressures continue to mount as well as all the normal pressures that teens have now a days… sad truth is that society seems to have no issues Pilling on the pressure but I’m not so sure that we teach the much needed skills to cope.
I’m not suggesting that the ACO can or should try to solve every problem faced by our cadets but we have a vested interest surely?

Another point of my planned weekend will be for the cadets to build and strengthen local support/ friendship networks further as it would be a sector camp.

All the discussions so far have been very much appreciated regardless of where people sit on the matter of MH in the ACO.

Could I ask if such a camp were to happen and you were to attend or had cadets attending what would you expect to see or in fact like to see?

Again thank you all.

50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

I know what it is, I’m just saying I’d be surprised if you actually covered it in detail.

No idea, as this is kind of new…
Maybe a reference document for the future of what to do or not do

A suggestion before going forward with a full weekend course for cadets, what about a 1 or 1/2 day preview for staff to “buy into it” that way the aims of your course and a better understanding can be gained and staff can actively help send the right cadets for the course.

I haven’t as we only skirt around the edges of it in the ATC for an awareness of the subject, which is why it wouldn’t hurt to do something similar wrt to mental health.

I am a cadet myself and believe this topic would be useful for both staff and staff cadets alike to cover! We spend plenty of time learning information about looking after the welfare of those under our care however, what if the issue is deeper? A course on Mental Health would allow a better and more thorough understanding of a topic only lightly covered by our current society and allow adults to aid those in their care in the best possible way.

Mental health awareness; yes. Anything more? Nope - leave it to the specialist. I’ve seen this topic done well but also done very poorly (which has been damaging for both the client, but also the amateur striving to help - but way out of their depth).

The mental health first aid training course is as deep as we should go. Anything more, refer on. I’d also suggest that, as staff, some support and supervision for MH issues (our own, and those of the cadets in our charge) needs to be in place too.

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