MENTAL health campaigner Philip McTaggart is to host two mental health training sessions in North Belfast next week.

Philip, who lost his son, also Philip to suicide in 2003. He was aged just 17.

Phillip now provides mental health training and has dedicated his life to helping save lives by preventing suicides. 

He wants to share his experience and the training he has built up over the years because he believes he can help make the community a safer and better place to live.

Mindskills Training, Coaching and Wellbeing sessions will take place on Monday, December 5 from 7-9:30pm at Ligoniel Community Centre and on Wednesday (December 7) at 6.45pm at Marrowbone Community Hub on the Oldpark Road.

Speaking about the importance of his training sessions, Philip said: "I provide mental health training in our community because I am passionate about the work of mental health and positive thinking.

"A few months ago, I was talking with a girl who told me her friend had saved her life.

“She asked me, ‘are you thinking of ending your life?’ And I said yes,’ “my God!” “She jumped into action like a superhero.”

"The friend had attended one of our training programmes which give her the skills to help save this life.

"We need more people trained to help those around them struggling with their mental health, you can also be a mental health superhero.

“We need to recognise that we are in a crisis here in the North with mental health and suicide.

“Treat people with empathy, compassion, and kindness because you never know what people are going through. A smile can hide a lot of pain.

"Everyone is welcome to come along. I want people to learn new skills to help break down the stigma and barriers which stop people seeking help.

"Our training, is aimed at ordinary members of the community, with more people trained to be more aware of poor mental health. The risks of suicide and the sources of help available, we can make our community a safer place to live.

"The training will give you a better understanding of poor mental health and suicide and its impact on our society, knowledge of who is at higher risk, skills to prevent suicide, the signs, how to listen and how to ask the right questions, knowledge of resources available locally, knowledge of how to maintain good positive mental health.

“Everyone likes to learn a new skill, so for 2023 why not learn a skill that could save someone’s life?”

You can contact Mindskills Training here.