Officially qualified as EFR Mental Health Awareness Instructor

Today this certificate arrived! The course is well within my qualification as a Clinical Psychologist so, having seen the course, I applied direct to teach it.

My experience is in working with mental health in the NHS and private practice, e.g. anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, bipolar and psychosis. But I’ve tended to avoid offering services to support mental and emotional wellbeing for divers, choosing to focus more on the more science-y psychological aspects of diving, as well as the ways that diving can benefit us.

However, with us all staying home, unable to dive, I’ve found something has really shifted for me on this and I’ve decided to bring my experience in this area to scuba divers. The challenges of the pandemic may mean that a lot of us need to actively protect our emotional wellbeing and mental health. It’s also something we can do via videocall.

In all honesty, I was a little avoidant of this course when I first saw it. My experience in mental health services was not always positive and I’ve witnessed some unhelpful advice and misinformation. But when I attended this course delivered by a friend of mine, I was really impressed with the content and philosophy. I also really like the focus towards the end on taking care of our mental health: prevention is better than cure ideas.

Within this course is an overview of various types of mental health conditions and how we might identify whether these are issues for ourselves or our buddies. As well as how we might respond effectively to becoming aware of a mental health concern.

Another great aspect of this course is that there is room for talking to each other more openly about these topics, and how well that can work (when done well) on a small, group video call. I’ve always thought it’s really strange that we think of “mental health” as a problem that sometimes some people get. Mental health and taking care of it by having healthy boundaries, relaxing, etc. is no different really to physical and taking care of it by doing exercise and eating well. And of course they are interlinked.

When we talk about fitness-to-dive, the focus tends to be on physical fitness, but I’d argue psychological state and wellbeing is just as important. And just like physical fitness, there is a lot we can do to stay mentally & emotionally healthy. This is covered in the course and you can see details and (coming soon) dates HERE.

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