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Issue:- 24 June 2009


25% of us will experience at least 1 mental health problem in any 1 year, and yet stigma and prejudice are still widespread.  In recognition of this hidden health crisis, The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has today accredited the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training programme in England, developed to establish a network of people with the skills and knowledge to take this essential first aid training into the community.

Mental health problems can affect people at any time, in different ways, and many suffer in silence for a long time before eventually seeking help. The MHFA course trains people to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems, shows how to offer initial help to those affected, and provides information about professional support.

MHFA supports the government's well-being agenda which highlights the importance of early intervention. Trainees on mental health first aid courses work in many different settings, including commercial organisations, teaching, police and prison services.

Fionuala Bonnar, programme director for Mental Health Services and Improvement, London Development Centre, part of Commissioning Support for London, said:- "The MHFA course instructors are a vital link in our work to promote awareness of mental health problems. RSPH accreditation for our instructors' programme shows that our courses are delivered to the RSPH's very high standards, giving additional confidence to instructors, trainees and the public."

RSPH chief executive professor Richard Parish comments:- "Many people are familiar with first aid for physical health, but there is a much more limited understanding of first aid for mental health. Early recognition of mental health problems can make all the difference to the outcome for individuals and their families, and the mental health first aid course gives trainees the practical knowledge to help identify anyone who may need professional help. Excellent training for these instructors is essential to the success of this much needed work. RSPH accreditation confirms the high quality of the instructor training programme and I congratulate all those involved in achieving this recognition."


DRIVERS who refuse to thank other motorists for giving way to them annoys more people than bullying bus drivers, middle-lane motorway hoggers and mobile phone users, it was revealed.  Hundreds of drivers across Britain have cited a simple lack of manners as the most annoying aspect of their everyday journeys, after a survey was carried out by leading fast fit network HiQ.  500 motorists were asked what frustrates them about life on Britain’s open roads, with the results suggesting that some good old fashioned manners are of more importance than other highway inconveniences.  Motorway middle lane hoggers came 2nd in HiQ’s top 10 list of irritations, with people failing to indicate 3rd, and mobile phone usage while behind the wheel 4th.  Interestingly, drivers who take time to pull away from traffic lights on green also infuriate, while parents who proudly display ‘little princess on board’ stickers on their back windscreens also wind people up, as they are deemed too ‘pretentious’.  HiQ launched the questionnaire as the network attempts to revolutionise the fast fit industry.

Marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said:- “Our accelerated national franchise programme is now complete, and all of our 150 centres are being redeveloped to bring them in line with customer expectations.  We are attempting to remove the stress and frustrations often associated with the fast fit industry, which is why we launched this survey, which we thought would be an interesting piece of research.  We were surprised to see the results, particularly as there was no mention of traffic wardens or speed cameras, which we thought would be the cause of major frustration.”

The top 10 list of drivers’ frustrations are:-

1. Drivers failing to acknowledge when being given right of way – 21% / 105 people
2. Motorway middle lane hoggers – 18% / 90 people
3. Refusing / forgetting to use indicators – 16% / 80 people
4. Using mobile phone while driving – 15% / 75 people
5. Slow getaway from traffic lights when green – 10% / 50 people
6. Bus drivers’ ‘bullying’ road tactics – 7% / 35 people
7. Caravans on road – 4% / 20 people
8. Failing to stop at pedestrian crossings – 4% / 20 people
9. ‘Little monkey‘ / 'little princess on board’ stickers – 3% / 15 people
10. Boy racer customised cars – 2% / 10 people

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