What is Mental Health First Aid?

Empowering organisations and employees to raise awareness, reduce the stigma and promote early intervention.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course which teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but just like physical first aid, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. Adult MHFA courses are for everyone aged 16 upwards. Every MHFA course is delivered by a quality assured instructor who has attended the MHFA Instructor Training programme accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health, and is trained to keep people safe and supported while they learn.   

How will attending an MHFA course help?

Research and evaluation shows that taking part in an MHFA course:

  • Raises awareness and mental health literacy

  • Reduces stigma around mental ill health

  • Boosts knowledge and confidence in dealing with mental health issues

  • Promotes early intervention which enables recovery

Two day Mental health First Aid:

Now adapted for online delivery

Delivery: In person or online

A practical skills and awareness course designed to give you:

  • A deeper understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect people’s wellbeing, including your own − Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues

  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress

  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening

  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them toappropriate support

One Day MHFA Champions 

Delivery: In person or online.

An awareness and skills course that will teach you to:  

  • Recognise the main signs and symptoms of common mental health issues 

  •  Provide initial support Guide a person towards appropriate professional help  

  • Be mindful of your own wellbeing 

  • Develop an understanding of how you can create and maintain a healthier workforce or community

Half Day MHFA - Mental Health Aware


Delivery: In person or online

An introductory course designed to increase mental health awareness and give an understanding of how to look after wellbeing and challenge stigma.

Half Day MHFA -  Refresher


Delivery: In person or online

Empower Mental Health First Aiders and MHFA Champions to maintain their skills with regular Refresher training.  

Mental Health First Aid Courses

Two-day Content

 Session 1 

  • Why Mental Health First Aid?

  • The Mental Health First Aid action plan

  • What is mental health?

  • Impact of mental health issues

  • Stigma and discrimination

  • What is depression?

  • Symptoms of depression

  • Risk factors for depression

  • Depression in the workplace

 Session 2 

  • Suicide figures

  • Alcohol, drugs and mental health

  • First aid for suicidal crisis

  • Non-judgemental listening skills

  • First aid for depression

  • Treatment and resources for depression

  • Self-care

 Session 3 

  • What is an anxiety disorder?

  • First aid for anxiety disorders

  • Crisis first aid after a traumatic event

  • Alcohol, drugs and anxiety disorders

  • Treatment and resources for anxiety disorders

  • Cognitive distortions and CBT

  • Personality disorders

  • Eating disorders

  • Self-harm

 Session 4 

  • What is psychosis?

  • Risk factors for psychosis

  • Alcohol, drugs and psychosis

  • Schizophrenia

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Warning signs of developing psychosis

  • Crisis first aid for acute psychosis

  • Treatment and resources for psychosis

  • Recovery and building resources

  • Action planning for using MHFA

One-day Content

 Session 1 

  • About Mental Health First Aid 

  • About mental health and stress in the workplace  

  • Stigma and discrimination

  • Depression

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Other mental health issues (eating disorders, self-harm, psychosis)

  • Early warning signs of mental ill health

  • Alcohol, drugs and mental health

 Session 2 

  • Applying the Mental Health First Aid action plan 

  • Action 1: Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis

  • Suicide

  • Action 2: Listen and communicate non-judgementally

  • Action 3: Give support and information

  • Action 4: Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help

  • Action 5: Encourage other supports

  • Recovery

  • Building a mentally healthy workplace 

  • Action planning for using MHFA

Half-day Content

 ​Four Hour Session

Can be delivered online 

  • What is mental health?

  • Mental Health Continuum

  • Factors which affect mental health

  • Stigma

  • Stress and stress management

  • Spotting signs of distress

  • Recovery

  • Take 10 Together - starting a supportive conversation

  • Supporting mental health in the workplace

  • Useful statistics

  • Helpful resources

Refresher content

 ​Four Hour Session 

Can be delivered online

  • Mental health?

  • Stress and factors which affect mental health.

  • Mental health continuum & stigma

  • Reintroducing ALGEE

  • Warning signs of mental ill health

  • Depression & anxiety

  • Suicide & first aid for suicidal crisis

  • Psychosis & first aid for severe psychotic episodes.

  • More mental health conditions

  • Practising our MHFA Skills

  • Self-care, wellbeing & recovery

Mental Health First Aid - by MHFA England

Mental Health First Aid England has approved Jules Parkinson-Thake  and Emma Nixey to deliver Adult MHFA courses.

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