KERRY Mental Health Association has commenced the roll-out of its programme of free and affordable mental health first aid training courses in the county. 

Four volunteers based in Tralee, Kenmare, Killorglin and Cahersiveen have completed the recent mental health first aid instructor course at MTU Kerry.

Maedhbh Keegan, TJ O’Connor, Mark Murphy and Mike Randles are looking forward to welcoming adults involved in community and not-for-profit organisations to the upcoming mental health first aid courses.

Pictured at the Munster Technological University Tralee were l-r: John Drummey, TJ O’Connor, Mark Murphy, Maedhbh Keegan and Mike Randles. Photo By : Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help given to someone who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional support is received or until the crises resolves.

The General Manager of KMHA, John Drummey, who’s an accredited mental health first aid instructor said, “We have committed considerable time and energy to secure the funding to cover the cost of training four Kerry-based volunteer mental health first aid instructors. The course teaches people how to assist someone who is developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. There might never be a need to put this training into effect, but more community organisations want to be prepared should the need arise. Kerry Mental Health Association organised two mental health first aid courses in 2022 and the plan is to deliver eight courses in 2023.”

The courses are licensed by Mental Health First Aid Ireland while the training has been shown to improve attitudes towards people with mental health difficulties, reduce stigma and improve knowledge. It improves people’s confidence in providing help and likelihood to advise people to seek professional help.

Kerry Mental Health Association is grateful to Mental Health First Aid Ireland for moving their instructor training course to Tralee while a generous once-off grant from the Department of Health and Mental Health Ireland funded the five-day course.

Kerry Mental Health Association wants to hear from community or not-for-profit organisations in the county to compile a schedule of mental health first aid courses during the second half of the year. For more information, contact [email protected] or phone 083 2032742.