Nine members of staff at Emmaus communities from across the North West received a welcome boost to their mental health training recently.

Emmaus Preston and Burnley invited Emmaus communities in Mossley, Bolton, Merseyside to take part in Mental Health First Aid England training, alongside six of their own support staff, all becoming qualified Mental Health First Aiders.

Mental health and wellbeing remain top priorities for Emmaus communities, many of whom were affected during national lockdowns when people were asked to stay indoors. People supported by Emmaus have been at risk of or have been homelessness, which can result in feelings of isolation from family and friends as well as society as a whole.

Mental health and homelessness

Head of Support at Emmaus in Lancashire, Karen, who took part in the training said: “Homelessness can be a very isolating experience, as is the journey back from being homeless, especially if people are keen to make a fresh start and avoid people who have been a bad influence from the past. Emmaus aims to provide the companionship that forms part of that support from the start.

“Mental First Aid Training helped remind us all of the importance of looking after not just the people who live at Emmaus, our companions, but also the health and wellbeing of volunteers and colleagues – and of caring for our own too. The training was also a great way of exchanging tips on best practice with so many other members of Emmaus communities from across the North West.”

One in four people affected

According to statistics published by Mental Health First Aid England, one in four people experience mental health issues each year, with mental illness the second largest source of burden of disease in England.

People with a long-term mental health condition lose their jobs every year at around double the rate of those without a mental health condition. This equates to 300,000 people.

Director of Emmaus Preston and Burnley, Stephen Buchanan, said: “Many people come to Emmaus because they have lost their jobs and have become homeless because of mental illness. We are here to pick these people up and help build back lost self-esteem alongside each other. By offering work experience and training next to volunteers and staff, alongside different support measures, Emmaus aims to restore that sense of purpose and belonging, and build security and routine back into people’s lives.

“I am pleased we were able to extend mental health training to other Emmaus communities across the North West, and hopefully we will work even closer together in the future. The more people are getting together to improve mental health, the better. It’s important we all learn from each other to continue to develop and improve.”


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