Birmingham outreach project coming to successful end

Mental health first aid training provider supports 1,600 young people in Birmingham.

Altruist Enterprises, experienced provider of resilience, stress management and mental health first aid training, is nearing the end of its Mental Health in Schools project, supporting 1600 pupils in Birmingham throughout January and February.

The Innovation Birmingham-based company has been working with 10 primary and 10 secondary schools in the city, delivering 40 workshops raising mental health awareness throughout year six and year nine students.

Receiving backing from leading regional and national organisations such as the West Midlands Combined Authority and Santander, the project has raised almost £11,000, with 19 different individuals and organisations pledging their support through a six-week crowdfunding campaign. Katie Buckingham, Director at Altruist Enterprises said: “It has been an extremely rewarding few months, working in 20 schools around the region to provide workshops both raising mental health awareness and challenging stigma, as well as encouraging open discussion and support around mental health wellbeing.

“The project has complemented our work outside of schools, providing training of a similar nature that focuses on cultures and procedures in workplaces throughout the region.”

As a result of the “overwhelming” implementation and response from the project, Altruist Enterprises is now conducting a study in partnership with the University of Birmingham to evaluate the effectiveness of the school-based mental health intervention with Dr Victoria Goodyear, Lead Researcher. The final paper is scheduled for release later this year.

The Mental Health in Schools project follows the launch of Altruist Enterprises’ latest publication aimed at Human Resources, Health and Safety and Employee Wellbeing departments.

A Guide to Producing an Effective Workplace Mental Well-being Strategy was written by Dr Electra Soady of the University of Birmingham, and Altruist Enterprises’ Katie Buckingham, helping organisations to produce an effective workplace mental well-being strategy, combatting how 54.8% of workplaces having “no strategy in place”.

The publication covers elements such as saving costs through effective management of mental health, assessing current levels of stress in the workplace, implementing relevant policies and procedures, and creating an appropriate workplace culture.

Founded in 2013, Altruist Enterprises joined the Serendip Smart City Incubator at the Innovation Birmingham Campus in September 2017, supporting small to medium-sized enterprises with growth through accessing key commercial partners. Operating as part of the Digital Health Quarter, the organisation is now partnered with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network.