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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 12 June 2009
Throw away the bandages as first-aiders learn talking cure

THE Tube train has broken down in the tunnel and the person opposite appears to be having a panic attack. How do you react?
You might not want to say: “Buck your ideas up, old chap. Worse things happen at sea.” You might want to encourage the person to relax and possibly slow down his rapid breathing.
With stress and anxiety on the rise, a series of mental health first-aid training courses is being offered free in Islington.
Islington Mind is running the two-day courses to teach people how to recognise symptoms and how to deal with a crisis situation.
The training covers depression, suicide, anxiety disorders, panic attacks and psychotic disorders.
Assistant director of Mind in Islington Anne Thomas said that these days people are often more likely to come across someone with a mental health illness than a medical problem.
She added: “What people don’t realise is that there are things you can do even if someone appears seriously disturbed.
“You don’t have to be professionally trained to learn to say the right things in the right situation.
“It means assessing a particular problem. It could be as simple as giving someone reassurance, listening to them and most importantly not judging them.”
Ms Thomas hopes employers will encourage at least one member of staff to attend the course.
“With all the pressures on keeping a job and performing well, stress in the workplace has increased dramatically,” she added.
“When someone has a medical problem they go and see the doctor. But because of the stigma around mental health, people will try to bottle it up or refuse to get help.
“When there is an episode it can mean a lot of time off work.
“The aim is to recognise the problem early and seek help.”
The first workshop is being held on June 29-30.
But there are at least two workshops every month until the end of September.
To book a place, call Islington Mind on 7561 5289 or email

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