Watford MP and Chamber of Commerce launch Mental Health First Aid project


Amongst the most memorable aspects of Dean Russell MP’s general election manifesto was a commitment to train 1000 mental health first aiders as part of his campaign to transform mental wellbeing in the town. As of 15:00 on Wednesday 23rd September local people can register an interest in becoming trained in mental health first aid.

Mental Health First Aid England described the training as an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing. It provides practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health; confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress; enhance interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening; gain knowledge in how best to signpost people to support services.

In a partnership between the Watford MP, the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce, Wellspring Church and local mental health champion Cllr Rabi Martins (part of One Vision Well Being Initiative), the project is part of the local MP’s mission to make Watford a wellbeing town. Watford-based Camelot, the operator of The National Lottery, is funding the initiative, having provided £30,000 for the project.

This Watford project will provide mental health first aid training to local businesses, schools and community groups. People can register their interest through the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce, here: https://watfordchamber.co.uk/m-h-f-a-2021-lets-get-trained/

Participants should expect to begin their two-day training course in the New Year. There will be a fee of £80 per participant (an almost 75% reduction than signing up for the course elsewhere). However, for students, small businesses and people from lower incomes, that fee will be waived. All participants must be a resident or affiliated to the Watford constituency to partake.

Dean Russell MP said “I am delighted to be able to launch this project with the support of the Prime Minister, the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce and so many brilliant local people – not to mention Camelot. Transforming the mental health of our town is a personal priority of mine and even though Covid-19 slowed down this initiative, I am so pleased to be able to get it back up and running again.”

Nigel Railton, CEO of Camelot: “Camelot is proud to call Watford home and so we are really pleased to support this important Mental Health First Aider project which will improve the wellbeing of our neighbours. We know first-hand the value of having Mental Health First Aiders, as Camelot has its own in-house team who do an excellent job. That our £30,000 donation will cover the training costs for six people to become instructors for the benefit of Watford’s local community is absolutely brilliant.”

Chris Luff, CEO of Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce: “We believe mental wellbeing is the most critical and impactful issue that faces our workforce today. In both our personal and professional lives, we all have a responsibility to participate & contribute to the wellbeing of our community - regardless of what you do, who you are and where you come from. I am pleased to work with our local MP and wider Watford community in training mental health first aiders.”