FREE training is being offered to help people better support those struggling with mental health difficulties.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, on Tuesday, September 10, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has been encouraging people across the region to sign up for its I CAN Mental Health Awareness Training.

The health board is the first in Wales to make such training widely available, free of charge.

Developed by NHS mental health professionals, I CAN training provides an overview of common mental health problems as well as best practice guidance on how to listen, give helpful advice, and look after your own mental health and wellbeing.

I CAN training was originally developed for North Wales barbers, as part of efforts to tackle the tragedy of male suicide, and raise awareness of men’s mental health.

Amongst those to have already received I CAN Mental Health Awareness Training is barber Jason Parry.

He said: “The I CAN training has been a massive help for me on a personal and a professional basis. It gave me insight into the world of mental health, and allowed me to have more empathy with sufferers.

“Before the course I wasn’t aware of the avenues of help that was available to people who suffer from mental health issues. But I now feel confident in being able to signpost some of my vulnerable clients to the help they need.”

Lesley Singleton, BCUHB’s Director of Partnerships for mental health and learning disabilities, said: “We know that many people want to be able to support friends, colleagues and family members who may be struggling with mental health difficulties, but they are worried that they may say the wrong thing, or make the situation worse.

“Our training provides best practice advice on how to listen, give helpful advice, and look after your own mental health. We hope it will empower ordinary people in communities up and down North Wales to have open, honest and informed conversations about mental health, which can help to tackle the stigma which still prevents some people from seeking the support they need.

“We want to encourage anybody with an interest in receiving or delivering the training to please get in touch.”

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