A Shropshire nurse manager who worked on the Covid frontline throughout the pandemic has launched a physical and mental health first aid training school as part of the plight to help prevent a national mental health crisis.

Louise Madeley, from Much Wenlock, launched Madeleys First Aid Plus after experiencing first-hand the impact of the pandemic.

“I’ve seen the impact the last 18 months has had on young people with my own eyes,” the mother-of-two said. “But it’s not just children, it’s the colleagues I work with in schools and on the wards each day – there’s a real mental health crisis developing at the moment and we need to take action.”

The training school will have a specific focus on teaching the next generation the importance of looking after both your physical and mental health – for life – with ‘mini medics’ training in place for children as young as eight.
“With physical health we know the signs to look out for – rashes, lumps, aches and pains,” she explained. “And most people can apply a plaster or wrap an arm in a sling. But mental health signs are just as important. Is your colleague or friend quieter than usual, more distant, later than usual to work – or are you yourself not feeling quite ‘your usual self’?”
Louise, who most recently worked as the nurse manager of a medical centre attached to a private boarding school in Shropshire, has more than 25 years of nursing experience specialising in Intensive Care and Accident and Emergency while also working through major incidents including the Paddington Rail Disaster.

“During my first week as a qualified nurse, I was part of the team attending the Paddington Rail Disaster,” she added. “So right from the early stages of my career, I’ve experienced trauma, and witnessed it in others. The difference between that incident and the pandemic is that the pandemic has left every single one of us affected.

“Whether you’ve had Covid, worked on the front line or as a key worker, or stayed at home, isolated for months on end without seeing anyone – it’s taken an enormous toll on all of us and it’s important we acknowledge that and talk about it.”

Madeleys First Aid Plus will offer physical and mental health first aid training to companies, schools and community groups as well as private groups and individuals.

And attendees are in safe hands, Louise qualified with an honours degree in Nursing Sciences from University of Hull in 1999, went into acute neuroscience, doing a postgrad in Neuroscience at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neuroscience.

She moved to UCLH intensive care unit completing specialist training before becoming a Senior Nurse there.

Following some time working in an “Urgence” near Toulouse in South West France she returned to England and worked in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Emergency Department.

She left in 2011 to do an MSc Advanced Clinical Practice, working in Primary Practice as a Nurse Practitioner.

Louise then took a break from her career to have her two children, Archie and Tomas whom she shares with her husband, Paul.

Before heading back to the frontline to support her NHS colleagues with the Covid pandemic, Louise was Nurse Manager at a private boarding school, where she worked with members of the teaching staff and leadership team on an all-encompassing Centre of Excellence for Health and Wellbeing.

Madeleys First Aid Plus is hosting a FREE Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health Course on World Mental Health Day, on Sunday, October 10 from 1pm – 5pm in the Priory Hall, The Bullring, Much Wenlock.

To find out more, head to facebook.com/physicalandmentalhealthfirstaid