Nearly 50 staff and volunteers at Liverpool Community Advice Centre are taking a free training course in ‘Mental Health Basic Awareness’ provided by Alistair Betts, a qualified mental health nurse and Lead Professional at the Retirement Villages Group.
Liverpool Community Advice Centre is a registered charity that provides free support to people with financial and housing issues (such as eviction), who consequently find themselves entangled in the legal system and experiencing mental health issues.
Managers at the centre felt they needed to gain insight into mental illnesses, their signs, symptoms and coping strategies so staff and volunteers could provide sound advice to sufferers. They also wanted to devise a ‘safe operating strategy’ for working with potentially challenging clients.
Alistair, who qualified in 2002, has worked in residential and nursing mental health settings with individuals experiencing personality disorders, psychosis, drug and alcohol issues, depression and dementia.
“My Mental Health Basic Awareness training sessions will hopefully give staff and volunteers at Liverpool Community Advice Centre a useful insight into mental health issues,” said Alistair.
“Following my first visit the centre is already considering how to develop a relationship with the local mental health service, which will allow them to signpost individuals to any further mental health support they may require.
“They are also looking to change the way they obtain information about a person’s mental health, which may impact their ability to deal with financial and housing affairs, and ensure this is taken into consideration. Especially when, for example, someone is facing eviction from rented accommodation.”
One volunteer at Liverpool Community Centre who attended one of the training sessions said: “It has improved my knowledge and I feel better equipped to help clients who are potentially suffering from mental health issues whilst providing with them advice about housing and finance.”
We felt the charity was a worthy cause and gave Alistair time off to assist the centre free of charge.