Date of Pledge: 

About this pledge

Active IQ is the UK’s leading awarding organisation for the active leisure, learning and wellbeing sector. We are signing up to the Time to Change programme as we feel an obligation to ensure a greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues. The health and fitness industry already know there is a strong link between exercise and improved mental health, and this gives our sector both an opportunity and a responsibility to really make a difference. However, in order to effect change, we believe that personal trainers, gym instructors and leisure centre staff should be upskilled to recognise mental health problems and know about the best ways to offer help.

In light of this, we have developed and launched the Level 2 Award in Mental Health Awareness. The qualification’s main purpose is to give learners an understanding and awareness of common mental health disorders and issues, help reduce stigma and discrimination, and encourage people to talk about mental health. One of the two units covers mental health first aid. It helps learners spot the signs of mental health issues in themselves as well as others, and gives them the skills to offer mental health first aid.

We have purposefully positioned the qualification at Level 2 so that new learners, as well as those with experience of the subject, have the chance to study it. We are offering it out-of-sector too, with businesses, youth clubs and others taking the opportunity to learn more about mental health to help people within their workplace or community.

We are also practicing what we preach by encouraging our own staff to study the qualification. This will help ensure they can look out for each other, and also recognise and manage their own mental health issues. We all lead busy lives but it’s important to stop for a moment, look around, and show understanding and offer help when we see the early warning signs in others.