Our event was a day early so that all our staff and clients could be included and we invited Cllr Mick Brown (Birmingham City Council’s Mental Health Champion) and Cllr Sharon Thompson (a strong advocate for homeless people and services) plus John Short (BSMHFT CEO) and Joanne Davis (Homeless Nursing Teams Manager) to speak at the event. All the speakers referenced SIFA Fireside’s long standing and positive partnership with BSMHFT and the relationship between homelessness and poor mental health.
BSMHFT then launched their new Mental Health First Aid training programme which will run at SIFA Fireside and is free to frontline staff in local homelessness agencies. Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognised and certificated course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be developing or experiencing a mental health issue.
12 other local agencies provided stalls within the ‘drop in’ giving information to clients, staff and visitors, and the morning closed with the Firesiders (SIFA Fireside’s house band) performing three songs.
SIFA Fireside’s CEO Cath Gilliver said ‘The idea of recovery doesn’t just apply to mental health; people who are homeless need time and support to move on as well as practical help, and here at SIFA Fireside we provide a range of choices which underpin that process. We very much appreciate the support we get from BSMHFT and the Council and are delighted to be working in partnership to plan and deliver Mental Health First Aid training.’