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5 facts about Mental Health First Aid course

Mental Health First Aid courses are very underknown, especially within the workplace. MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) courses are beneficial to everyone. Anyone can take an MHFA course.

The course offers; a clear understanding of what mental health problems are and how best to handle them. As well as how to spot when someone is struggling. Although, this may be hard to do so as so many people mask mental health problems due to feeling ashamed.

This blog covers; What is meant by mental health first aid? How they can be implemented in a work placement and why the courses are important. All while at the end highlighting the difference between Mental Health First Aid courses and Mental Health courses.

As yes, there is quite a significant difference not many are aware of.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course that provides an understanding of mental health problems, how to help others and more to be covered later. Most MHFA courses can be offered over four half days or two full days, whichever is best for your convenience and often presented online.

Mental health first aid is the help you give to someone developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.

Mental health first aid can help people experiencing:
  • Depression.

  • Anxiety problems.

  • Psychosis.

  • Substance use problems.

  • Eating disorders.

  • Gambling problems.

It can also help if a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, such as:
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

  • Non-suicidal self-injury (sometimes called deliberate self-harm)

  • Panic attacks.

  • Traumatic events.

  • Severe psychotic states.

  • Severe effects from alcohol or other drug use.

  • Aggressive behaviours.


What does a Mental Health First Aid course offer?

The Mental Health First Aid course covers different things to a standard Mental Health course. An MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) course covers; what Mental Health problems are as well as how best to handle them. Providing a clear understanding of how to support and listen in a non-judgmental manner and signposts ways to recover if needed.

MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will educate you on how to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis and even potentially stop a crisis from happening. Also, allowing you to gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you.

A personal quote from someone who has taken part in our Mental Health First Aid course

As a women’s health physio I have found myself in situations where I was definitely out of my depth dealing with patients' mental health concerns, and also found it difficult to know what to say to those or where to refer those with more serious issues such as suicidal thoughts.

After completing the course I now have a much better understanding of what my role is, what to say (or more importantly what not to say), appropriate language to use and which health professionals to refer to.”

The Mental Health First Aider course will also educate you on where to reach out for help. This knowledge helps you to encourage someone to ask for help and where the appropriate place for them to receive further help may be.

Mental Health First Aid in the workplace

Having a clear understanding of mental health can be beneficial in all workplaces, for both employees and employers. Mental Health First Aid, in the workplace, allows everyone to gain a better understanding of what someone who is struggling may be feeling. Allowing more leniency with sick days and appointments someone may need to attend to take care of their mental health.

A good Mental Health policy within the workplace will allow the company's employees to feel looked after and appreciated. Providing a much calmer and positive environment to work.

The higher number of work departments, that provide a well structured mental health policy, the lower the sigma becomes around mental health.

  • Stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the majority of days lost due to work-related ill health, 17.9 million and 8.9 million respectively.

  • On average, each person suffering took around 17.6 days off work. This varies as follows:

    • 21.6 days for Stress, depression or anxiety

    • 20.0 days for Ill-health cases

    • 18.4 days for Musculoskeletal disorders

    • 9.1 days for Injuries

Until recently, UK businesses owners, managers, and staff have been largely unaware of the impact mental health issues can have on individuals, teams, and the organisation. Participating in a Mental Health First Aid course; will allow a vast understanding and knowledge of these ongoing issues, allowing further success for many companies.


Importance of Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is always important to have as it allows you to act in potential life-threatening cases until further help arrives as you will have better knowledge. Not only; is a Mental Health First Aid course helpful for individuals personally to widen their knowledge it is also helpful to many companies.

Being a qualified Mental Health First Aider will also benefit your company as employees will feel the need to take less time off for poor mental health as their employers will provide a safe workspace where they feel they can talk freely. Some estimates suggest that major depression alone is costing employers $31 billion to $51 billion per year in lost productivity. Source: []

Therefore, becoming a Mental Health First Aider may help to lower the statistics. As well as the financial effect mental health can have upon a business. Having the knowledge that the Mental Health First Aid course offers will;

  • Help people to notice someone is beginning to struggle mentally.

  • Being able to provide support before things then become too late.


Difference between MHFA courses and Mental Health Awareness courses

As mentioned previously Mental Health First Aid courses offer:

  • Understanding what some mental illnesses are.

  • How to help and support each mental illness.

  • Signposts for further support someone needs.

  • Educates you on how to tell if someone is begging to struggle.

  • Helps to know the correct way to talk to someone with mental health problems.

  • Teaches you how to help someone in a crisis until additional help arrives if required.

A Mental Health Awareness course offers:

  • Understanding of how each mental illness may impact someone

  • What may cause some mental illnesses

  • How support for some mental illnesses can be offered

  • Recognising the signs and symptoms of some mental illnesses

While taking part in either mental health course is beneficial for your understanding, they both offer different knowledge.

A Mental Health Awareness course only provides an understanding of a brief selection of mental health problems/ Whereas the Mental Health First Aid offers a broader selection of mental illnesses. Mental health awareness focuses more on bringing awareness about mental illnesses. However, the Mental Health First Aid brings awareness as well as how to help support and comfort someone until further help is received if required.

If you feel as if you would like to widen your understanding of mental health or even become a qualified Mental Health First Aider yourself. We do offer an online Mental Health First Aid course as well as menopause in the workplace.

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About Me

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I am a multi-award-winning women's healthcare advocate.


I am extremely passionate about women's healthcare and mental health.

Did you know that - You are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack? Everyone should know what to do.


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