Backup Launches Free Mental Health First Aider Course at the PLASA 2021

Backup recognises the need to positively communicate with our colleagues and to be aware of how they might be feeling and to ensure that they are not suffering alone, so this year’s PLASA Show sees the charity launching a free Mental Health First Aider course generously sponsored by Unusual Rigging in memory of Alan Jacobi who was a long serving and valued Backup Trustee.

“Alan was always concerned about the welfare of his colleagues, and it is wonderful that Unusual Rigging has sponsored this course in his memory,” says Backup Chair, John Simpson. “We are not good at asking for help or asking others if they need help. We want to change that.”

In general, the role of a Mental Health First Aider is to be a point of contact for anyone who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction can range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help.

“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,” John continues. “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 trust that venues, promoters and production companies will engage with this is and it becomes part of crew contracts.”

Backup is delighted to partner with fellow industry charity, Music Support which, as an MHFA England Instructor Member, will provide the courses.

“We felt it was important the course is delivered by an accredited MHFA provider that has a first-hand understanding of our industry and the challenges that our colleagues face,” John concludes.

The training courses are free and are offered to freelancers only at this stage, as Backup feels it is the freelance community has the most immediate need.

There are 100 course places available over the next 12 months, so please make time available and sign up here.