Training for frontline Fife Council staff to talk about mental health

Frontline staff are to be trained in talking about mental healthFrontline staff are to be trained in talking about mental health
Frontline staff are to be trained in talking about mental health
Around 100 frontline Fife Council staff are set to be trained in discussing mental health issues with the public.

Staff from the Cowdenbeath area who regularly engage with the public, such as housing officers, are being trained in how to discuss mental health and issues around suicide in the course of their daily work.

It is hoped that the scheme, being trialled in the area, will reduce the number of people requiring crisis support. If the pilot is successful the programme is likely to be extended across the entire Kingdom.

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Sarah Roxburgh, community manager for the Cowdenbeath area, says she has engaged with counterparts from North Ayrshire and Glasgow, who have already adopted such a scheme, to learn more.

"We're aiming to have this team, in January or early February, trained up and hopefully feeling more confident to deal with questions about good mental health and wellbeing and suicide prevention," she told the Cowdenbeath Area Committee on Wednesday.

"The intention is to test this approach because it has never been tested in Fife."

Other partners, such as support charity Samaritans, are also being consulted.

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The initiative has been welcomed by local councillors such as Cllr. Lea McLelland (SNP, Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty), who said the "long-awaited" scheme should be expanded to include elected members.

"Anyone that has contact with the public including ourselves, absolutely - if it could be rolled out across the board it would be a fantastic thing - it could put the brakes on anyone having to suffer long-term," she said.

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