What is a Mental Health First Aider??

Mental Health First Aid has become one of the go to accredited courses for mental health support for most organisations across the U.K. But what is a Mental Health First Aider and what are the benefits of introducing this course into your workplace/organisation.

Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. In the same way as learning physical first aid, this course teaches people how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support. Embedding this training within any organisation or community also encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture.

The course will: − Give a deeper understanding of the issues that impact on and relate to people’s mental health − Teach practical skills that can be used every day, including being able to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and feel confident guiding people towards support.

In general, the role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help. As well as in a crisis, Mental Health First Aiders are valuable in providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue. Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but they can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.

We believe support is very important to successfully embed Mental Health First Aiders into an organisation. Every organisation will have a different approach to how they support their Mental Health First Aiders but here are some examples of support strategies which have proven successful: − Setting up networks (with a clear remit) for support and idea sharing (perhaps overseen by someone with a HR background) − Putting in place a Mental Health First Aider role and policy document to ensure clarity on expectations − Empowering Mental Health First Aiders to maintain their skills with regular refresher skills training. The recommended gap is 3 years, in line with physical first aid training − Develop and promote clear referral or assistance pathways so Mental Health First Aiders can signpost effectively to support − Increase mental health literacy across the rest of the organisation to help normalise the conversation around mental health.

If you would like to become a Mental Health First Aider or are interested in qualifying your team, contact us at

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