17th Jan, 2020

Mental health first-aiders on hand at two major Birmingham arenas in aftermath of Manchester Arena bombing

Catherine Vonledebur 18th Nov, 2019 Updated: 18th Nov, 2019

AROUND 20 mental health first-aiders have been trained to be on stand-by at music concerts at Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena following the Manchester Arena bombing.

After a successful trial the NEC group has committed to rolling out the support across a number of shows by major artists.

So far, it has been offered at Ariana Grande at Arena Birmingham in September – the artist performing on the fateful day at Manchester Arena in May 2017 when 23 people died – and Little Mix at Resorts World Arena earlier this month.

The role of these first-aiders, who work within the NEC Group and CBRE, is “to provide practical mental health reassurance and support” on show nights for anyone feeling anxious or worried. Their help can range from providing a non-judgmental listening ear, to offering a space to relax or signposting to further support.

The NEC Group currently has 20 employees trained with plans to roll out the initiative further across a number of upcoming shows.

One customer who used the mental health service at Ariana Grande said: “We came to the Ariana concert last night, our first concert since the Manchester attack and just wanted to thank everyone involved for making the experience so positive and restoring our children’s happy memories!

“It wasn’t without a few panic attacks and tears, but the mental health support in place was brilliant. This visit was made so much easier by the reassurance of visible security, police presence and the mental health support on offer.”

Ellie Coombes, senior event manager at Arena Birmingham, said: “Mental wellbeing is hugely important to us at the NEC Group. Over recent months we’ve put a real emphasis on making sure our employees’ mental health is looked after – and it’s just as important that we look after those visiting our venues.

“We always hope everyone has a great time with us, but by partnering with CBRE, we’re there on hand to help if anyone needs it. We want our visitors to come and talk to us about their mental health and know that if they’re struggling, they don’t have to do it alone.”

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