Interactive ‘emotional first-aid’ course launched to improve pandemic mental health skills

  • by IMAGE

A new online course aims to provide essential training to help those who need mental health support

A new interactive online training course, Being There, aims to provide counselling skills training to everyone, from employers to parents.

The course has been created by Dr Derek Smyth, who has spent 30 years as a psychotherapist and teacher and who has co-authored the anger management programme, 'Defusing the Bomb'.

'Being There' is an online adaptation of his popular workshop series, aiming to arm individuals with the knowledge and skills to support colleagues, friends and family who may be experiencing mental health difficulties, particularly those exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.


There are nine modules in the online training course, covering essential skills for helping those who need support, including active listening, self-awareness and crisis intervention.

The online course has been launched following research carried out by Mental Health Reform and the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium, which found that one-third of the population in Ireland has experienced mental health difficulties as a result of the pandemic.

“During these unprecedented times, it is vital that people are prioritising not just their own mental health, but that of their friends, colleagues and loved ones,” says Dr Derek Smyth.

“Many of us have been experiencing feelings of confusion and apprehension due to the ongoing pandemic, and that is totally normal. The importance of knowing how to express our feelings, and to support those who may be having a difficult time has never been more pronounced. However, the reality is that the majority of us are not trained in these critical listening and development skills.”

Find out more information about Being There from

Photography by Unsplash.


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