It’s important to firstly understand that Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a global community;

Originally created in 2001 in Australia, there is of course a great story behind its evolution, but that’s for another blog.

MHFA was introduced to England by the Department of Health (DoH) in 2007.

So the MHFA England courses are the same uniform product delivered by a quality assured instructor who has attended a rigorous instructor training programme accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health, and is trained to keep people safe and supported while they learn.

MHFA have protection rites over the term “Mental Health First Aid’ so any other product which is not an MHFA England course (or any of the other countries listed below 1*) which boasts the term “Mental Health First Aid” may need to be viewed with caution. Some training courses will be called First Aid for Mental Health for example. These are not MHFA England products.

Mental Health Awareness or First Aid for Metal Health, or any other play on these words may propose similar learning objectives to MHFA England training products however each course is not necessarily standardised and will differ depending on who wrote the training programme. You should always be clear what you are actually signing up to, what you are paying for, and who accredited the training.

MHFA England products Pros and Cons;

At the Bridge First Aid we appreciate the benefits from standardising training so you are all speaking the same language however we know there is always a space for bespoke training were gaps emerge.

There are many bespoke ‘Mental Health themed’ training programmes which are valuable. We recommend you visit the mental health at work gateway to find local providers and resources. Do please question the credibility of the provider. Ask who is endorsing the certification if there is one.

MHFA England have 3 main courses for the following demographics. Youth, Adult, Armed Forces, and Higher Education.

The two Day MHFA England course is the only recognised training programme that qualifies you as a Mental Health First Aider. The full syllabus and objectives can be found on our course description or the MHFA England website.

The One Day Champions mental health awareness and skills course qualifies you as an MHFA Champion and an additional support to mental health first aiders. This course focuses on Mental Health at work and the laws around discrimination, disability and Menatl Health. We appreciate that it’s just not convenient to train everyone as a Mental Health First Aider so the one day course was designed to bridge the gap. This course works well as a support to Mental Health First Aiders and can also be taken as a stand-alone course however ‘only’ introduces the first aid action plan which (this action plan is a simple model used by MHFAiders when delivering first aid). The detail in which common mental health disorders are covered is limited in comparison to the two day course although still relevant. Participants will also learn about signposting and gain an increased awareness of their own mental health.

We feel the main benefit of the one day MHFA Champions course is that delegates have the opportunity to create a case study, which means they can tailor the training closely to their specific work environment and then practice what MHFA will be appropriate for their explicit case.

The Half Day MHFA Awarenes course is very much an awareness course that helps tackle stigma and empower people to access other initiatives and supports. Some knowledge is better than nothing.

Ultimately is down to the discretion of the individual and their risk assessment. To compare with traditional physical first aid, a basic life support course will have overlap with a three day FAW course but obviously won’t deliver such a range of skills.

In an ideal world you would complete the two day training, (or similar programme) the irony is that if more people did, the world would be better for everyone. Time and money are limitations.

One day we hope the education system takes Mental Health awareness to new level. It would likely save lives and public sector finances in the long run.

Click on the image above to visit our page dedicated to Implementing and Applying Mental Health First Aid at Work  for more guidance.

1*Bermuda, Cambodia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, United States, United Arab Emirates, Wales