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  • Tracy Douthwaite

What is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

You may of heard of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) but don’t really know what it involves or if it’s right for you.

MHFA is an evidence-based training course designed to follow the same protocol of traditional first aid. Much the same as physical first aid training, MHFA is open to anyone and does not require prior knowledge or experience. There are 2 day, 1 day and half day courses, offering differing levels of Knowledge and skills, all increasing awareness and reducing stigma.

MHFA Two Day course sets out to increase a person’s confidence to assist someone experiencing a mental health issue or crisis and guide them sensitively and effectively to a place of support.  Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms and how to have a mental health conversation. Courses are suitable for individuals, communities or workplaces, whether your motivation is for yourself, friends and family or employees. They cover a range of mental health conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD and suicide. The course is interactive with lots of opportunities to practice skills and increase understanding through a variety of one to one and group activities. At the end of every course you will take away a comprehensive manual which includes information on conditions, ways to support people and services.

More information about MHFA modules MHFA aims, to not only reduce stigma associated with mental health but also assist everyone to manage their own stress levels, support their well-being and feel able to speak out if they require support. We know how to look after our physical health but it’s just as important to learn how to look after our mental health-MHFA will equip you with tools to look after your well-being. In turn increasing your confidence to reach out to others. And because MHFA is an internationally recognized, certification-based training, participants who successfully complete the two-day course, gain a Mental Health First Aider certificate. Talking about mental health doesn't need to be awkward

  • Start small. People find talking in person difficult, and that's understandable- if this is the case you could send a text, leave a note- just keep reaching out

  • Find a good time & place. Sometimes it's easier to talk side by side rather than face to face- going for a walk or while your cooking can ease tension.

  • Find a time you won’t be disturbed if possible. 

  • Ask questions (gently!) encourage sharing rather than making assumptions.Be open and honest- don’t make promises you can’t keep and remember you don’t need to have all the answers- listening is a powerful tool and means a lot. 

  • Treat them the same. If someone has a mental illness, they are still the person they were before- talk about common interests and everyday things. 

  • Be patient there will be good days and bad days but having a friend who cares can make all the difference.


#MHFA #MentalHealthAwareness

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