A doctor is on a mission to raise awareness of mental health after tragically losing her dad to suicide.
Katy Sutcliffe, 30, from Whitburn, is gearing up to hold a course on mental health with the aim of challenging stigma and increasing understanding of what mental health is.
The course will be held at The Word in South Shields, on Thursday, February 28, from 1pm to 5pm.
Katy, a registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Leighton Hospital in Cheshire, trained as a mental health first aid instructor after losing her dad Andy Sutcliffe to suicide aged just 51 in 2015.
She said: “I trained as a mental health first aid instructor after my dad took his own life.
“I remember his boss telling us that he showed no signs of mental illness at work.
“Mental health first aid teaches people what to look out for and to equip them with skills to have conversations about mental health.
“Often, I find people want to help but are worried they might say the wrong thing.”
The four-hour session will also give people the confidence to support someone in distress or who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
Those taking part will also learn about mental health conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, as well as supporting mental health in the workplace.
Katy said: “I miss my dad so much. He was a brilliant, supportive and kind man - the person everyone else went to for help and advice.
“His death was completely out of character. I had to do something.
“Mental health first aid is an international, evidence-based course.
“Since it started in Australia in 2001, 2.6 million people have been trained worldwide, so it seemed like a very positive thing to be involved with.”
Although MHFA England value this course at £125 per person, Dr. Kate’s Courses is a not-for-profit organisation and therefore the subsidised course cost is £45 per person.
If you are unemployed, in full-time education or cost would be prohibitive, a further discount may be available.
There are 16 spaces on the course and everyone who completes the course gets a manual to refer to, a workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health and a certificate of attendance to say you are mental health aware.
Places are non-refundable but they are transferable, so that a colleague or friend could come along instead.
Those wanting to take part should visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mental-health-awareness-course-tickets-53617286748
Anyone who would like to sponsor Katy in the London Marathon can visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KatySutcliffe
You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans.
Whatever you’re going through, call them for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is free to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.