'Lives will be saved' - Council funds 250 mental health first-aiders

Breckland Council and its leader Sam Chapman-Allen have been criticised for using the pandemic as an

Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen said the Inspiring Communities programme was making "a real difference" to Breckland. - Credit: Breckland Council/Ian Burt

A Norfolk council has announced it will fund the training of hundreds of mental health first aiders to support the well-being of its community. 

Breckland District Council has released £15,000 which will see 250 Mental Health First Aiders and Community Mental Health Champions trained and operating in the district. 

The enhanced mental health resourcing is part of a new partnership between Breckland Council, Norfolk and Waveney MIND, the NSFT Wellbeing Service, and YANA (You Are Not Alone)- the rural industries mental health charity, to establish a Breckland Mental Health Community Partnership.

Over the next two years, the partnership will deliver a variety of Mental Health First Aid and Awareness courses to small businesses and community groups, to develop its 250-strong network.

The training will enable volunteers to better understand mental health, how it can affect overall well-being, the potential triggers and signs of mental health issues, and how best to signpost residents to available support.

Breckland leader, Sam Chapman-Allen, was left waiting after Attleborough Town Council meeting was ca

Breckland leader, Sam Chapman-Allen - Credit: Archant

Breckland council leader Sam Chapman-Allen said: “The council’s Inspiring Communities programme, which is leading this project, is making a real difference in our community, investing £1 million over three years, supporting residents needing local mental health support and advice, whilst also tackling social isolation and loneliness, County Lines and dealing with domestic violence."

Lady Dannatt

Lady Dannatt - Credit: Archant

Lady Dannatt, Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk said: “Apart from anything else, it opens a conversation, and without question, lives will not only be changed but lives will be saved as a result. I remain indebted to YANA, to MIND but most of all to Breckland Council for being prepared to help make a difference.”

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UEA joins forces with Dereham Town Football Club. Ashley Bunn (Dereham FC chairman) Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

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“Norfolk and Waveney MIND is busier than ever,” said its director of strategy and business, Ashley Bunn.

“60% of adults and young people who did not experience poor mental health before the pandemic [are] now experiencing mental health issues. 

“We look forward to helping to support Breckland Council in providing healthier business and community environments to ensure that with the right support and resources, everybody can create a life that feels meaningful irrespective of the presence of symptoms.”