Natalie McColl, GCMA Membership Services Manager, and course facilitator Debbie Kleiner, discuss our new programme to support your mental health Can you explain what the Regional Wellbeing Initiative is? NM Our Regional Wellbeing Initiative is a wonderful step forwards for our association, prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of GCMA members nationwide. We often acknowledge the immense pressure and isolation that Golf Club Managers face in their roles and this initiative demonstrates our commitment to supporting our members, not only professionally but also personally. As part of this initiative, we have appointed Mental Health First Aiders in each region across England and Wales and initially they have attended a two-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course. These individuals play a crucial role in promoting a culture of wellbeing and good mental health within their respective regions and will be the main point of contact for anyone in need of mental health support. What does the training consist of? DK The course teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. MHFA doesn't teach people to be a therapist, but it will teach them to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially stop a crisis from happening. They learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping themselves safe. They also learn how to empower someone to access the support they may need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP, their school or place of work, online self-referral, support groups, and more. Furthermore, Mental Health First Aiders gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around them. What responsibilities does a Mental Health First Aider have? DK – Upholding the values and qualities of the role, namely being approachable, impartial, non-judgemental, confidential, empathic, trustworthy, patient and a skilled listener. They should contribute to reducing stigma and promoting positive mental health, use active listening skills, and take into consideration their own frame of reference and the language they are using around mental health. Furthermore, they should use the MHFA Action Plan to guide their support and use good judgement about the order and the relevance of these actions, being flexible and responsive. They have access to the MHFAider Support App, where they can utilise the online national database of mental health services, Hub of Hope, to record their reflections after an MHFA conversation. The app provides a wide range of resources, with 24/7 support included. It is also important for Mental Health First Aiders to understand the importance of self-care and practice wellbeing regularly to manage stress. Why is the Regional Wellbeing programme so important to the GCMA? NM – This initiative is incredibly important for not only our association and its members, but also for the wider golfing workforce and community. We hope that...
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