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AIF to offer members mental health first aid training through Music Support partnership



The Association of Independent Festivals has partnered with Music Support – a peer-led music industry charity that provides confidential mental health and addiction services – to offer its members discounted training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).

The partnership was announced today at the AIF’s 2019 Festival Congress, building upon a ‘Well-being For Festivals’ training event that AIF organised for its members in September this year.

The trade body representing independent festivals across the UK, is part of a landmark, 10-strong music industry collective uniting to offer mental health training across a broad spectrum of the music and touring industries.

Music Support has also agreed to work with The Event Safety Shop (TESS), an event safety service; industry charities Help Musicians UK and The BRIT Trust - the charitable arm of BPI; PLASA, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association; Production Park, a hub of rental and design vendors for the touring industry; Backstage Academy, an education centre for touring personnel disciplines; The Production Services Association (PSA) benevolent fund, Stage Hand, which aids the live music production industries with funding and advice; and Thrive: MentalWellbeing, a new, clinically effective app designed to help people combat stress and learn cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) amongst other skills.

MHFA England is the only organisation in England permitted to provide Mental Health First Aider Instructor Training licensed by Mental Health First Aid International, the global community that has trained over three million people worldwide, and over 400,000 in England alone.

Through the partnership, Music Support will be a preferred provider, offering discounted MHFA training to AIF members, and are also hosting a ‘safe hub’ at today’s Festival Congress so that delegates can find out more.

There will be various courses available including ‘First Aider’ (two-day course), ‘Champion’ (one-day course) and ‘Aware’ (four-hour course).  

Music Support MD, Eric Mtungwazi said: “MHFA training is becoming a priority for businesses across many industries and sectors, both nationally and internationally.

“We’ve received a lot of support and encouragement from partners about the prospect of Music Support delivering MHFA. MHFA England is currently campaigning for the Government to put mental and physical health on an even footing. This is gaining traction from politicians and is likely to become an area of statutory responsibility for employers in the future. Now is time for our industry to get in ahead of the curve. We’d like this initiative to be an industry wide adoption of good practice which will improve mental health literacy and the industry’s capacity to prevent and respond.”

Training is open to all music industry professionals. Income generated from courses will go towards current and future services supporting people affected by mental health and addiction issues.

Music Support’s Adult MHFA Two Day course qualifies the individual as a Mental Health First Aider and will give understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing, the practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues, and the confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Part of AIF’s remit is to provide its members with the resources and expertise they need to improve and maintain the safety and wellbeing of both staff and customers at their events. Mental health is obviously a vital part of that, and we’re pleased to be partnering with Music Support, alongside a number of other great music industry organisations, to give AIF promoters access to great training in this area.”

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