THE NHS 111 team for the North West Ambulance Service has gone from nine mental health first aiders within the service to a team of 66.

The made a pledge to increase its team of mental health first aiders on World Mental Health Day in October this year.

The mental health first aiders are employees who have volunteered to offer support to their colleagues. They have received additional training to spot signs and symptoms for a range of mental health conditions, provide support to someone experiencing an issue or crisis, and listen and hold supportive conversations, as well as help them access further support.

Recognising that mental health issues and suicide rates can be more prevalent among men, the team was keen to increase the number of male mental health first aiders and now has 12, known as ‘manbassadors’.

Sally Rose, NHS 111 Senior Service Delivery Manager at North West Ambulance Service, said: “The NHS as a whole is experiencing a particularly busy and challenging period and in NHS 111, every member of the team is working incredibly hard to provide care and support to members of the public who need us.

"That’s why it’s so important we look after ourselves and each other. The mental health first aiders are just one way we support staff welfare but I think it’s very effective. I’m proud of the way our colleagues have come together to be there for one another, which reflects the professional and caring nature of our people.

“Many of us spend most of our day at work, so we all have a real opportunity to spot if a colleague is struggling with their mental health. The mental health first aid training gives us the confidence to notice the signs and step in, but I’d encourage anyone to chat to a colleague if they think they might need support.”