What is Mental Health First Aid training?

First developed in Australia in 2000, Mental Health First Aid training is similar to standard first aid training, putting practitioners in a position to identify, understand and respond quickly to signs of illness before medical professionals can step in.

Mental Health First Aid training teaches participants the common risk factors and warning signs to look out for amongst their fellow colleagues, allowing them to identify specific illnesses including:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Schizophrenia

  • Bi-polar disorder

  • Eating disorders

  • Addiction

Employees qualified in Mental Health First Aid have the training to identify when colleagues are struggling, providing initial assistance and supply them with useful resources that can help. This can vastly improve employee wellbeing for both colleagues and provide a general boost to the office culture.

Why is Mental Health First Aid so important?

According to the Centre for Mental Health, illnesses related to mental health cost employers around £1,300 for every employee in the UK workforce, an increase of over 30% compared to ten years ago.

Surprisingly, the largest percentage of this cost comes in the form of ‘presenteeism’. This describes employees who are suffering but still attend work with heavily-reduced productivity. Due to this, employers may be unaware of the problems their employees are facing, or the cost to their business.

Despite the cost, this creates a real opportunity for UK employers to take advantage of the benefits of Mental Health First Aid training to provide support for employees within the workplace. What’s more, following the simple tips that Mental Health First Aid training teaches could allow employers to save more than 30% of the costs of mental ill health.

What are the key messages of Mental Health First Aid?

According to Professor Anthony Jorm, PhD, DSc, one of the original creators of Mental Health First Aid, the system provides ‘basic Mental Health First Aid skills that can be learned by anyone in the community.’ Jorm says these skills should be seen as part of the responsibility of every person to care for others in their community.

He describes the key elements of Mental Health First Aid as:

  • Approaching the person to assess and assist with a crisis.

  • Listening non-judgmentally.

  • Giving support and information.

  • Encouraging the person to seek appropriate, professional help.

  • Encouraging them to seek the support of family, friends and others.

How do I get certified in Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid awareness has increased massively in the past couple of years, with more and more employers and even the general public getting involved. As such, the number of training courses on the subject has increased, making it easier than ever to take advantage of this useful method.

Almost anyone can become certified in Mental Health First Aid. You can read more about our 2-day Mental Health First Aid England certified course here.

What does a certified Mental Health First Aid course involve?

Mental Health First Aid certified courses are generally two days. A qualified instructor will guide participants through four manageable sessions which will be broken down into presentations, group discussions and workshop activities.

Each session is based around a Mental Health First Aid action plan, such as how to identify someone who is showing signs of a mental health problem and respond quickly. Course attendees will work together under the guidance of the instructor, who is on hand to answer any questions.

Course places are limited to 16 to ensure the instructor is able to properly support attendees.

What can I do with a Mental Health First Aid certification?

A Mental Health First Aid Certificate identifies the holder as someone who has completed an accredited course and is qualified to respond to colleagues suffering with mental health issues in the workplace.

After completion of the course, both employers and employees can be confident in the knowledge that effective support and appropriate resources can be provided by certified staff. 

If you are interested in getting your employees certified in Mental Health First Aid you can contact us online. Alternatively you can call us on 0845 260 6886 to make an enquiry or book a place on a future course.





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