Tararua Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP) hosted a one-day face-to-face workshop that focused on mental health.

MH101 is a mental health literacy programme held as a workshop or series of three webinars.

The workshop teaches participants how to recognise the signs of mental distress, relate to people experiencing mental health challenges and respond appropriately. It also gives them tools to support their own mental health and wellbeing.

Blueprint for Learning manager Angela Gruar said many people wanted to help when they thought someone was struggling with their mental health, but they didn't know how.

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"They worry about doing or saying the wrong thing, so they don't say anything at all," she said.

"MH101 gives participants the confidence to approach their families, friends, clients and colleagues if they're concerned about their mental health or substance use. They gain the skills to have what can be difficult conversations safely and respectfully."

Another aim of MH101 is to reduce the stigma often associated with mental distress and illness.

"While there is a growing awareness of the importance of good mental health, particularly following the Covid-19 lockdown, unfortunately, there can still be a fear of discrimination for people experiencing mental health challenges.

"All of our workshops are co-facilitated by an expert team. It is often a surprise to participants that at least one facilitator has personal experience of mental health challenges or addiction and recovery. Their use of personal experiences as examples during the workshop can be extremely powerful and eye-opening."

MH101 was developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and has been run by Blueprint for Learning since 2008. It is an evidence-based, interactive workshop designed for people working in non-mental health service frontline government or social service agency roles. It is also available to anyone working with people in communities.

The workshop is free to attend for those who meet these criteria. It can also be purchased for groups, organisations and workplaces.

"We encourage everyone who can to attend a workshop. The knowledge and skills you gain will be useful both at work and in your personal life," said Gruar.

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"Particularly now as we continue to feel the impacts of Covid-19, it is crucial people can support their own and others mental wellbeing and have the tools to address mental distress and problematic substance use."

Face-to-face workshops are held across the country, running from 9am to 4.30pm. The workshop is also offered as a webinar series held as three sessions. Up to 25 participants can attend a workshop.

For more information and to register for an MH101 workshop visit www.blueprint.co.nz or email info@blueprint.co.nz.