First Aid for Mental Health

Teen-to-Teen Mental Health GEMS Metropole School - Motor City (MTS) students pose with their Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aider certificates

Eight students are among the first in the Middle East to qualify as Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aiders

Mark McAdam, Deputy Head of Secondary and Designated Safeguarding Lead, GEMS Metropole School – Motor City: “Eight GEMS Metropole School – Motor City (MTS) students are part of the first cohort in the Middle East to be qualified as Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aiders. Students in the sixth form were offered the opportunity after an intensive selection process that involved written applications followed by interviews. Interest in attending the course was overwhelming, with approximately 50 per cent of students putting themselves forward through letters of interest.

Mental health and growing awareness of its issues are of paramount importance among staff and students at MTS. To mark and celebrate World Mental Health Day on 10 October teachers and students drew a picture of a sun on their hands in support of those suffering from poor mental health. The students will now use the skills and the qualification they have obtained to support and mentor younger students in school.”

Mark McAdam, Deputy Head of Secondary and Designated Safeguarding Lead

Sarah Khan – Year 13 Sixth Form student, MTS: “The aftermath of the Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aid training changed me in a way that is difficult to express. It increased my awareness of mental health issues and how profoundly necessary it is to destigmatise mental illness. The four-hour session was the equivalent of physical first aid training and provided a plan on how to identify signs of mental health issues experienced by teenagers and how to respond to such situations, with the instruction to receive the help needed from a responsible adult as soon as possible. It also set out the difference between sympathy and empathy as well as the correct way to talk to people in need, which led me to reflect on the incorrect support I had been offering and educated me about the correct route to take.

Consequently, the training has enabled me to aid my friends in a more professional way. And I have seen instant progress with one of my friends, which makes this opportunity even more beautiful. To see my friend receive the help she needs gives me a sense of satisfaction that’s all down to the training I received.

Finally, I have realised my limits as a Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aider – that I am not a therapist but a better person to be around when my friends are going through a crisis. Ultimately, our goal is to comprehend and make others understand that ‘ideal’ mental health isn’t about being constantly happy, but rather it’s about being able to deal with a crisis more efficiently; that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay and the sense of suffering won’t last forever. Because as humans we are unyielding creatures, and the training will allow me to make others realise this as well.”