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Community Tuesday: HITZ Officers learn how to help youngsters’ mental health

Community Tuesday: HITZ Officers learn how to help youngsters’ mental health

HITZ officer Charlie Hurley believes he’s gained a wealth of knowledge on mental health that will prove vital on a day-to-day basis following a two-day course at Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road.

The programme, created by Mental Health First Aid England, was delivered to a host of HITZ officers from Aviva Premiership Rugby sides to help gain a better understanding into mental health of young people.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, funded by partners Land Rover, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon, works with over 2,000 young people, aged 14-18 year-old, across England every year.

And according to Tigers officer Hurley, the course will give him confidence to approach his pupils and help them with any issues they might be facing.

He said: “It was a really informative event looking at mental health first aid in young adults and young people. It has made me a lot more confident in how to help the people I work with and as a group too and what to do in certain scenarios.

“If I was in a situation where a person came to me with some of the difficulties we discussed I would be happy and confident to be able to point them in a right direction and help them. It’s been a really good course.

“We’re in the middle of it and it’s very common in the market we’re working in so it’s good to have that backing and background knowledge and what to do with our pupils we see every single day.”

The two-day course explained how officers can help young people talk about any issues and where they can also seek further help if needed.

Exeter Chiefs HITZ officer Gareth Williams claimed the programme helped expose him to a number of different ways he can help his pupils.

He said: “We’ve been looking over different aspects on how to support our young people with mental health issues. I think for a lot of us we knew bits about it but this gave us a clear understanding about what we can do if we see young people with different symptoms. I think it was a really eye-opening event.

“I think we all have our own personal experiences with certain situations and I think it’s a lot closer to home than people realise. Even since the course I’ve been talking to friends and family and experiencing different emotions.

“We want to create an environment that helps our young people feel relaxed and can express themselves and we work hard to do that and hope this can add another aspect to it.”

Kelly Dummer, HITZ national programme manager at Premiership Rugby, added: “It’s hugely important to help these officers gain a better understanding.

“There’s so many different strands of mental health and you don’t always know which one you’re dealing with.

“It will make our officers more confident in what they’re dealing with so that will in turn help the young people. The more they know about the people the better they can handle different situations.

“Everyone seemed very engaged and we had a lot of debates around the different subjects which was healthy to see. It will be great to hear how the officers have got on in the next few months following the course.”

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