The Golden Tree Community Interest Company provides innovative health and wellbeing training in schools, businesses and communities. Amongst our training packages we include Mental Health First Aid, Youth Mental Health First Aid, MHFA Lite and safeTALK, all of which address the subject of suicide. Our directors include two of the most experienced MHFA instructors in the country. Our aim is to increase mental health awareness in the population and suicide awareness in particular. We train ordinary people how to identify others in distress, how to provide initial help and how to access the right kind of support. In addition we equip them with strategies and techniques to help them monitor maintain and improve their own wellbeing.
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How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
Golden Tree CIC continually seeks funding to reach as wide an audience as possible in order that the stigma and discrimination surrounding suicide and mental health issues is tackled effectively, through education. Our training increases understanding and encourages ordinary people to provide initial help to a person in distress before guiding them to the right kind of support. Another important component of the training is that participants leave with the knowledge that they can and should ask for help at times when they need it and what those options for support are, both in their locality and nationally.
The CIC works in schools, businesses, the voluntary sector and in communities and has delivered training in environments as diverse as prisons, international law firms and nuclear power stations. The message of the importance of as many people becoming suicide aware as possible is a constant factor in everything we do. We network with similar organisations and collaborate with them in order to share best practice and work towards our aims in as efficient a way as possible. More people die as a result of suicide than die on the roads each year. Our ambition is to be part of a movement which prioritises suicide to the extent that proper resources are put in place to address what is a very real public health issue. By working together we hope to help save lives.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Whilst there is a manifest need for training in suicide awareness training funding has been hard to find since the recession arrived and unfortunately often only becomes available after a tragedy has hit a school, business or community. Also when funds are available for more widespread public awareness training it can sometimes be spent less effectively than might have been the case. A proper national strategy needs to be adopted, and it is to be hoped that the Alliance will be able to lobby government in order to achieve this.