Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) 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, MHFA teaches people how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support.
Embedding MHFA training within any organisation or community also encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture.
We have a number of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) available in most Directorates. They can provide immediate support to staff and are able to guide colleagues to other support mechanisms.
Our Mental Health First Aiders have completed a two day MHFA course. This is our most comprehensive awareness and skills course, which includes a mix of presentations, discussions and group work activities
Who are your mental health first aiders?
You can find a full list of mental health first aiders on the Trust intranet site. Please contact Health and Safety on 29147 or 48084 if you have any questions about MHFAs in your area.
Being a mental health first aiderBeing a Mental Health First Aider – Your guide to the role
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-judgmental listening and guidance.
Mental Health First Aiders are trained to:
- Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health
- Start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress
- Listen to the person non-judgmentally
- Assess the risk of suicide or self-harm
- Encourage the person to access appropriate professional support or self-help strategies. This might include encouraging access to internal support systems or in-house counseling services
- Escalate to the appropriate emergency services, if necessary
- Maintain confidentiality as appropriate
- Protect them while performing their role
At no time does the Mental Health First Aider role supersede company policy: first and foremost they are all employees of the Trust.