What is a Mental Health First Aider?

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Mental Health

What is a Mental Health First Aider?

In the same way as  physical first aider would see the need to assist, provide care and support of an injured person until professional help arrives, a mental health first aider will do the same. Have you ever felt tongue tied and just not known what to say when someone opens to you? Or you’ve notices the emotional shift in a friend or colleague and not known how to approach them? The MHFAider course will give you the confidence to have conversations and to provide help and comfort.  The manual you receive with the course is comprehensive, full of resources for signposting and medical evidence, so you know you are grounded in a medical framework whilst supporting your colleague, friend or family as a person!

Mental Health First Aiders are people who care.  They care enough to put time aside to listen – really listen.  They care enough to take on the role knowing that it will add to their responsibilities.  They care enough to prioritise their own mental health first whilst being active in the role.

A MHFAider completes a 2 day face to face course, or the online version of 4 live sessions and 21 independent activities.  This course teaches them to spot the signs and symptoms of poor mental health, to have an understanding of mental health illnesses and to sign-post towards professional help when needed.

The courses main aims are:

To preserve life

To promote recovery 

To address and reduce the stigma around mental health.

However, to be a great MHFAider you need to practice the skills learnt, stay engaged, use the material and resources on repeat to gain competence and confidence.  The Mental Health First Aider course is only as good as the team that practice it.  If practiced, the Mental Health First Aider course is one of the most impacting courses there is.

I believe so much in the repetition of the material to aid retention that I offer quarterly debriefs for a team of MHFAiders, free for the first year.  At these debriefs we team talk! We discuss good practice and difficult scenarios, we bring current information and resources to the table.  Practice, practice, practice.  Don’t just take it from me, let’s hear from a previous delegate: 

‘Have nothing but praise for the quality of the course. This runs through all elements – Lou as instructor, the materials, the content, the other participants, the session breakdown, the time to complete gap tasks. It is definitely something I would recommend to anyone.’

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