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The Association of Independent Festivals has announced its collaboration with Music Support to offer its members discounted training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).

Music Support is a charity that provides confidential mental health and addiction services to those in the music industry.

The partnership was announced on 7 November at the AIF’s 2019 Festival Congress. The announcement built upon a ‘Well-being For Festivals’ training event AIF organised for members in September 2019.

The AIF is part of a ten-strong music industry cooperative, working to offer mental health training across the music and touring industries.

Music Support will also be working with multiple other organisations including: industry charities Help Musicians UK and The BRIT Trust – the charitable arm of BPI; The Event Safety Shop (TESS), an event safety service; Production Park, a hub of rental and design vendors for the touring industry; The Production Services Association (PSA) benevolent fund, Stage Hand, which aids the live music production industries with funding and advice; PLASA, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association; Backstage Academy, an education centre for touring personnel disciplines; 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 offer discounted MHFA training to AIF members, and also hosted a ‘safe hub’ at the Festival Congress so that delegates were able to get more information.

Music Suffort will offer various courses including ‘First Aider’ (two-day course), ‘Champion’ (one-day course) and ‘Aware’ (four-hour course).

Managing director for Music Support, 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 available to all music industry professionals. Money made from the courses will go towards both current and future services that support those affected by mental health and addiction issues.

Music Support’s Adult MHFA Two Day course allows those who complete it to qualify as a Mental Health First Aider. The course will give those attending understanding of mental health and issues that can affect wellbeing, the practical skills to spot the signs and triggers of various mental health issues, and the confidence to intervene, reassure and support a person who is suffering.

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.”