Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer
Hi, I’m Tracy the Director of Open Minds Training and Consultancy which I have developed with a small, brilliant team to help provide mental health training and support to businesses and individuals.
I became a Mental Health First Aider whilst I was the CEO of a charity. We experienced the tragic loss of a talented young person who died by suicide, shortly before he was to perform at our arts centre. This was a huge wakeup call for me, and I realised that I had no idea how to support the people I was working with, or indeed my friends and family. This led me to discover Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). My training was truly life changing, so much so that I believe everyone should have this knowledge and learn these skills. To say that it really could ‘change the world’ sounds over the top but I really think it can!
I have experienced how debilitating mental illness can be. In my late teens I developed an eating disorder that caused deep depression for me, preventing me from finishing my degree course and limiting my life in many ways. It continued to be something I had to manage, sometimes more successfully than others, for many years. I always felt that I wanted to use my personal experience to help others and try to reduce the debilitating impact mental ill health can have.
Having had to travel 100 miles to do the training to become a Mental Health First Aider, I took further training to be able to train others, and now offer a range of accredited courses for individuals and corporate groups from my base in the South West, in person anywhere in the country or online. I also provide support in embedding mental health awareness, policies and procedures within organisations. I deliver the majority of our training but do have a team of highly skilled, passionate associates who also deliver with us.
I feel utterly privileged to get to spend time with people from all sorts of backgrounds, hearing about their experiences and being able to introduce them to skills which can change lives. MHFA helps people understand how to support their own wellbeing better, as well as how to help friends, families and colleagues to remain well or recover from ill health, even it they reach a crisis point. Most importantly this training helps break down the stigma and discrimination that is so often what is most disabling about mental illness for so many.
I have since taken further training including ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). Tragically so many of the people I train have been affected by suicide, so this training has enabled me to support people’s learning in more depth. I am a volunteer for ‘Shout’ a text helpline for people in crisis which has provided me with more training, insight and opportunities to support people which has enhanced my skills as a trainer. I am also proud to be the Mental health Trainer for Wiltshire Mind which enable me to train groups of people whilst supporting this important charity to earn vital funds.
I train people from all sectors, in their workplace and as individuals on public courses. My experiences as a CEO of an organisation; working in the charity, arts, public and private sector; and as a volunteer, board member, school governor have all helped me in my appreciation of the challenges people face and hopefully be an empathetic and supportive trainer.
So please come and join me on my mission, I’d love to meet you.
“What I found most valuable was the openness and honesty that Tracy led the course with, which enabled a relaxed environment and a safe space to learn, share and support. Having such an inspiring trainer really helped me to get the most out of the course and ensure the effectiveness wasn't impacted by the fact that it was delivered online not in person.”
“Tracy was absolutely brilliant, so warm and welcoming and made it feel both safe to contribute and safe to just sit quietly if we didn't want to share. Really enjoyed how interactive the course was.”
“Tracy was personable, empathetic and kind, she created a safe environment that generated an inviting atmosphere for people to talk openly and frankly. She has filled me with confidence even though I have been a nurse for 30+ years I have learnt new skills that I know I will use. I recommend everyone attends this course.”
"I found Tracy Sullivan’s excellent course life-changing! The course was very interactive and interesting. Tracy created a safe, non-judgemental and thought-provoking environment throughout. I feel much more aware of mental health now and more confident to support pupils, colleagues and friends, as well as myself and family. I’m also very keen to find out more from the extremely helpful resources given on the course."
Why invest in Mental Health First Aid training?
Wellbeing is good for business
Healthy people are happier, more engaged and more productive. Employers across the UK are acting now to support the wellbeing of their people and create mentally healthy businesses. Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society. Mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year (Source: MHFA England).
Mental ill health costs UK employers
According to the Centre for Mental Health, simple steps to improve the management of mental health in the workplace will allow employers to save 30% or more of these costs – at least £10 billion a year. This is where we can help.