Backup Mental Health First Aider courses confirmed
Friday, 6 May 2022
mhfaBackup’s remit is to support the welfare of our technical community
UK - Backup has announced the next round of its Mental Health First Aider courses, which are free to all freelance crew via the AJ bursary. They will take place on 25 and 26 May, 23 and 24 June, and 13 and 14 July and now follow a two-day format to accommodate freelancers’ busy schedules. The courses are sponsored by Unusual Rigging in memory of Alan Jacobi, who was a long-serving and valued Backup trustee, and provided by fellow industry charity Music Support as an MHFA England Instructor Member.
Course takers will learn how to recognise the warning signs of mental ill health and develop the skills and confidence to approach, listen, reassure and respond, and potentially prevent a crisis from happening. They will also will gain an understanding of how to support their own well-being and tackle stigma.
“Music Support is proud to once again be working in partnership with Backup to equip production and technical freelance workers with vital skills and tools that are enabling industry peers to support themselves and others affected by mental health conditions,” comments Music Support chief executive, Eric Mtungwazi. “Some great work has already been done in our sector, but there is still some way to go before mental health has parity of esteem in the workplace.
“It is imperative that we continue to develop an industry-wide community that promotes prevention, encourages early intervention and a supportive workplace for all workers. Our goal is that all offices, venues, and tours have Mental Health First Aiders on site. We can only achieve this by working together with partners like Backup and welcome others to get involved too.”
“This course has given me a 'toolbox' not just for helping others, but also for helping myself. It's also busted some myths and misconceptions I held around mental health, and I feel more confident knowing the facts,” adds Claire Heat, Elton John and Band | VIP manager who has taken this valuable training. “I'm so grateful to the charitable support that made it possible to do this course for free and of course to Hannah, our tutor, and my fellow 'students' for their trust, honesty and openness throughout the delivery of the course. I hope that, as a result of the course, I am better able to spot the signs of those who may be struggling with their mental health.
“Being a member of a touring crew is an absolute privilege, but the long, unsociable hours and periods of time away from home, friends and family can be difficult sometimes. I hope many more people will become Mental Health First Aiders to ensure that we are as equipped as we can be, to look out for and look after each other, whether at home or out on the road.”
“Backup’s remit is to support the welfare of our technical community and is here to help if colleagues are in a dark place whether because of mental health issues, hardship, injury or illness,” concludes Backup chairman, John Simpson. “One of Backup’s missions is to ensure that there will always be one trained Mental Health First Aider crew member for every 20 crew, no matter what the event is or the size of the whole crew. We had a wonderful response to the first round of courses and hope that these will prove equally successful.”
To find out more or sign up for the course, visit:

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