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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Helen Grant: Mental Health First Aid Course

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    01 Dec
    Helen stands smiling in front of a St John's Ambulance sign, holding a pack of documents for her course on Mental Health First Aid.

    This summer I was fortunate enough to receive Gateway funding that allowed me to take a one-day Mental Health Workplace Responder course with St John Ambulance in Cambridge. I had been a Welfare Officer on the JCR in my second year and wanted to refresh my knowledge, but also learn how to apply mental health awareness in a professional context. I’m applying for a few different graduate leadership schemes and think that anyone who works in any sort of management role should be equipped to support their team. 

    I wouldn’t have been able to take the course and sit for the FutureQuals Level 2 qualification without Gateway’s support - everybody else there had been sponsored by their workplace, and they were impressed that I was attending just days after graduating. We covered some of the most common signs and symptoms of mental illness as they might show up in the workplace, as well as going over various hypothetical scenarios so that we could work out the most appropriate response. Something I found particularly interesting was covering the different elements of mental health legislation and thinking how they might apply in different professional contexts. I came away with a comprehensive information pack that I’ll be able to reference in the future. 

    The best thing about the experience was that I got to meet such a varied group of people! After spending such a long time in lockdown and then only really meeting other students by the time I got back to Cambridge, it was incredibly refreshing to be doing group work and having lunchtime chats with fellow trainees of all ages and backgrounds coming from industries as varied as construction and biotech.

    In the future, I’d like to go back and do the longer course in Mental Health First Aid so that I can be of help to people more directly. For now, however, I’m incredibly grateful to the Gateway Programme for giving me this opportunity to challenge myself and hopefully boost my employability. I passed my assessment and hope that it will help me be a more empathetic and informed colleague as well as friend in the future, wherever I end up working.

    Helen Grant
    Alumna, History and Modern Languages