In an inspiring endeavor to foster mental health awareness and support, Slum Soccer recently organized a two-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training session from February 13th to 14th, 2024. This initiative aimed to equip 15 coaches from Nagpur and Delhi with essential skills to identify and address mental health challenges among participants aged 18 and older, as well as within their own communities.

Collaborating with OSB India, the training delved into various aspects of mental health, encompassing understanding signs and symptoms, as well as implementing effective action plans. Facilitated by experienced trainers Majella Baptist, Mehkala Chatterjee, and Praveen Rajendran, the sessions proved invaluable, providing practical insights through group discussions, role-playing exercises, and interactive activities.

One of the pivotal takeaways from the training was the ALGEE action plan, emphasising five crucial steps: Approach, assess and assist with any crisis, Listen to the person non-judgmentally. Give the person reassurance, support and information. Encourage the person to seek appropriate professional help. Encourage other supports. Participants also explored the Mental Healthcare Act 2017, shedding light on the legal framework surrounding mental health in India.

The training not only equipped coaches with the tools to support others but also emphasized the importance of prioritizing their own mental well-being. By fostering a culture of openness and empathy, Slum Soccer aims to create a supportive environment where mental health is destigmatized, and individuals feel empowered to seek help when needed.

Reflecting on the training, coaches expressed gratitude for the opportunity to deepen their understanding of mental health and enhance their ability to support those in need. Leveraging the expertise and resources of external organizations, Slum Soccer is breaking down barriers, challenging stigma, and fostering a more inclusive society where everyone has access to the support they need to thrive.

Looking ahead, Slum Soccer remains committed to prioritizing mental health within its programming and operations. Through continued education, advocacy, and community engagement, the organization seeks to create a world where mental health is recognized as a fundamental human right, and everyone has the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest.

In conclusion, the MHFA training at Slum Soccer represents a significant milestone in the organization's journey towards promoting mental health and well-being. By empowering coaches to become Mental Health First Aiders, Slum Soccer is not only transforming lives but also laying the foundation for a brighter, more compassionate future. Together, let us recommit ourselves to the cause of mental health, knowing that we can build a world where everyone has the support they need to thrive.