The UK’s largest motorcycle training provider, Phoenix Motorcycle Training, is helping save lives by providing Mental Health First Aiders at all of its 22 centres across England, offering support of vital importance to the next generation of motorcyclists.
Phoenix Motorcycle Training is training 24 members of its staff as accredited Mental Health First Aiders in association with Mental Health Motorbike, a registered UK charity dedicated to free mental health support for bikers and their families.
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The Mental Health First Aiders will be placed in every one of Phoenix Motorcycle Training’s 22 training sites, delivering motorcycle training from CBTs to advanced post-licence training. The aim is to ensure the well-being of students and staff, create a supportive environment and provide dedicated spaces where people can talk in confidence with someone who understands their needs. This work will benefit the next generation of motorcyclists embarking on their riding journey and experienced riders attending the school for advanced rider training.
The provision of services like this innovative scheme is vital as the importance and the need for mental health work is acknowledged. One in four adults in England will experience mental illness each year*, and alarmingly, 75% of those diagnosed in England receive no support or treatment*. Add to that the untold numbers of people whose conditions have not been diagnosed, and the frightening scale of the problem is revealed.
Suicide figures are a tragic indicator of mental health problems in society. These numbers can appear shocking for motorcyclists whose first concern about their well-being may be road accidents. To put it into perspective, in 2021, there were 1,558 road deaths, including 310 motorcyclists, in Great Britain*. That’s a shocking number that needs addressing rapidly, but it’s dwarfed by the staggering 6,319 suicides that were registered in the same year*. And it gets worse if, like a large number of motorcyclists, you are an adult male: in the UK, 75% of suicide victims are male*, and suicide is the most common cause of death in men aged 20-49*.
While the demographic of the biking community makes riders a high-risk group, receiving very little or no mental health support, sometimes all it takes is a friendly smile or a short chat to make all the difference. The newly qualified Mental Health First Aiders at Phoenix Motorcycle Training have the tools and knowledge to be able to provide this support following their in-depth training, making the training centres friendly and supportive environments for everyone. The combined effort from Phoenix Motorcycle Training and Mental Health Motorbike is looking to ensure that the future of motorcycling is happier and healthier than before without losing any of the inherent fun and enjoyment that riding motorcycles brings.
In addition to CBT and Full Licence training, Phoenix Motorcycle Training also offers post-licence Trail Riding and Advanced StreetSKILLS 101 courses for existing UK motorcycle licence holders. This group can also benefit from the Mental Health First Aiders’ support and has the opportunity to reach out for help if needed.
Mark Jaffe, CEO of Phoenix Motorcycle Training Ltd, said: “As the UKs largest motorcycle training school, we can see the massive benefit to new and current riders of having access to Mental Health First Aiders in all of our locations. As instructors and bikers, we know that riding motorcycles helps promote good mental health, and through this additional training enabling us to do even more, and the brilliant work of Mental Health Motorbike, we realise we can make a difference to riders old and new.”
Paul Oxborough, Founding Member & Chair of Trustees, Mental Health Motorbike, said: “Phoenix Motorcycle Training is not only respected within the industry, they really get what it means to go the extra mile when training their new riders. They have invested in putting a trained Mental Health First Aider in every one of their centres in case any of their trainees are struggling. These partnerships with the industry really send out a strong signal that it is OK to talk about your mental health, and we truly respect and value this strong connection – Phoenix, we thank you for helping break the stigma around mental health.”
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