To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th May), the UK’s biggest online learning provider, The Skills Network, is offering free courses focused on mental health and suicide awareness, spotlighting the rising male suicide rate and mental health problems in England, and urging more men to sign-up for courses.

With experience of working with the likes of Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and the NHS, the free certified courses at The Skills Network include level 1, 2 and 3 in Mental Health Awareness. The course focuses on recognising poor mental health, as well as the signs of self-harm and suicidal thoughts, giving learners tools to manage and minimise self-harm risk, as well as tips on how to support others dealing with grief after suicide.

With over 40,000 mental health-related courses completed at the Skills Network, only 5,346 learners (13%) are male. This discrepancy has remained the same for the past 12 months (April 2020 - April 2021), with almost 85% of learners being female.

James Earl, executive director of sales at The Skills Network, said: “The pandemic has affected everyone differently – some have lost family members, others have become unemployed or furloughed, while many are still feeling extreme loneliness and anxiety.

“It’s concerning to see that less than a third of our Mental Health course learners are male, when at the moment 42% of men are saying that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health*. By being aware of poor mental health, self-harm and suicide signs, it will be easier to identify some of the triggers which might cause others to be at risk.

“With more than 6,000 people across the UK taking their lives each year, we wanted to make these courses free and fully available to help the nation recover from the pandemic. You can choose when and where to attend the courses, achieving a certified qualification whilst having the support of an assigned Tutor and advisor.”

Nicola Trappitt, a learner who recently completed the Level 2 Mental Health Problems course, added: “After browsing through the numerous courses available, it was this course that appealed to me the most as I felt it would be really beneficial to my job - and on a personal level too! It has taught me ways to manage my own anxiety and stress better, and I am now confident in recognising symptoms of mental health problems.”

To sign up to these free certified courses or to review the other online courses available, please visit