If you work in a school, you are probably already aware of the increasing need for mental health support in schools -both for students and staff. A report at the beginning of 2019 shows the extent of the difficulties school staff are facing.

"School staff in Scotland missed almost 400,000 work days for mental health reasons in the past three years, figures have shown. Teachers and support staff took 395,330 sick days related to mental health since 2015-16,based on research using a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Lib Dems.

The findings reveal teaching absences have risen from 75,281 to 87,066 days in the three-year period. Support staff sickness due to issues such as stress, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder increased from 43,307 days to 58,300 by the past academic year."
At AOK, we have an associate tutor who can make a real difference to your skills and confidence to support mental health. These skills will help you to look after your own mental health, that of your family and colleagues and of your students.

Scotland's Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) will give you the knowledge and skills required to recognise people who may behaving mental health difficulties and give you a framework for how to intervene and offer initial help.

In a nutshell,this is about learning how to notice someone is struggling, that they may need help and to have the confidence to do something, rather than nothing.

You will learn:

  • More about mental health problems like depression and anxiety - what the signs and symptoms might look like.
  • How to start a difficult conversation with someone you think might need help, or you are worried about.
  • How to listen non-judgementally, offering support and kindness. You don't have to offer advice or fix people's problems - that's not your responsibility.
  • How to signpost someone to where they can go for professional help.
  • How to offer someone ideas for what they can do to help themselves.
  • How to ask if someone is thinking about suicide. This can and has saved lives.

This is done in an inclusive, supportive way,with plenty of activities and discussion. There is no expectation that you will share your own experience. The facilitator, Carolynne McKendry, has been a SMHFA instructor for 12 years and has trained hundreds of teachers and staff from Education.

There are two SMHFA courses, with slightly different focus and methods of learning.

  • SMHFA is a two-day course with a general focus on adults. Participants are required to attend two full days (12 hours total)
  • SMHFA:YP is a blended learning course which, whilst using the same skills and framework for intervention, focusses on working with young people. This course is done in three parts, with group sessions and personal workbook learning:
  • o Part 1 - one hour group introduction
  • o Part 2 - one day skills practise with tutor
  • o Part 3 - 1.5 hour group evaluation and reflection

There are two options for mental health first aid training with AOK. You can send staff to AOK to take part in one of our courses. Or, we can send our tutor to your school to allow you to do an in-house course specifically for your staff.

Contact for more details on our in-house training.

About Us

AOK delivers a varied programme of CPD training for teachers and the teaching profession.

Our workshops are limited to a maximum of 16 delegates which allows for close interaction between attendees and our tutors.

Contact Us

AOK Learning Ltd

Station House
Suite 2.3
34 St Enoch Square
G1 4DF
United Kingdom

+44 (0)141 221 1001

Where to Find Us