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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Train one million members of the public in basic mental health awareness and first aid

Last updated: 09:02am 21 January 2019

And, as we did with Dementia Friends, we will train one million members of the public in basic mental health awareness and first aid to break the stigma of mental illness.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.57

Our verdict

Mental illness will impact on most people, directly or indirectly, at some point in their life. According to the most recent large scale study, approximately 1 in 6 people in England report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. The manifesto acknowledges the stigma often attached to mental illness and includes it as one of the “burning injustices” to be overcome if Britain is to become “the world’s Great Meritocracy”.

This policy is a promise to improve public mental health awareness and first aid knowledge by providing training for one million people.

On 10 October 2017, the government announced that they would dedicate £15 million to a free online interactive education scheme to provide basic mental health first aid skills to a million people. Those who take the course will be provided with knowledge and skills to help them recognise and respond to instances of mental illness in themselves and others.

A similar scheme called Dementia Friends was previously set up to change perceptions of dementia. The success of Dementia Friends has made it a model for this new campaign.

The program will be delivered by Public Health England who will work with organisations such as Mental Health First Aid England to capitalise on existing experience in this sector. Making the announcement, the government said the campaign would launch in 2018 with training due to take place over the following three years.

This policy is ‘in progress’ given the work and spending commitments made so far. We will deem it to be ‘done’ once the training website is live (we were unable to find it in early 2019) and a million people have taken the course. Follow this policy for updates.

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