Mental health first aiders
Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) are trained to listen and to spot the early signs of mental ill-health in others. They are taught to confidently signpost to appropriate support, both internal and external, and they are equipped to deal with emergencies too.
By encouraging people to talk about emotional matters and mental struggles more openly and positively in the workplace, they can lessen the stigma that still surrounds mental health and provide a more supportive and open culture.
Speaking to a Mental Health First Aider
You can talk to them about any mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety or depression. A Mental Health First Aider can help lighten the load you may be carrying by actively listening and signposting you to further help, if you need or want it. Sometimes providing a listening ear is all that is required.
The number of people being trained as MHFAs locally is growing, so keep a look out for MHFAs advertised near you or contact our local HWB lead to learn more.
It is important to note that MHFAs are not qualified therapists/counsellors/psychiatrists. They cannot advise, but they can listen and offer support options.
Training in Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid training teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. It teaches you how to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues, provide help on a first aid basis and effectively guide someone towards the right support.
If you are interested in training:
- get in touch with your employer to see if they run any training, or if they provide support to their trained mental health first aiders
- check the NHS Kent and Medway training site for any current training opportunities
- social care employees can look for opportunities on the Skills for Care website
- Primary care employees can look for opportunities on the local primary care training hubs:
- If no training is currently offered, individuals can book courses directly (see list below). However, most courses require funding.
Alternatively, there is related training available to people living or working in Medway, such as Making every contact count, Better Medway Champions or Connect 5. Connect 5 teaches you how to manage conversations with clients so that they are better able to understand, manage and improve their own mental health.
Support for those already trained in Mental Health First Aid
If you are a trained Mental Health First Aider working in health and care, you are not alone and there is support available for you. ‘Talking Wellness’ hosts a bi-monthly ‘community of practice’ which offers a chance for MHFAs to meet each other, continue learning, hear about specific local offers and ask questions. Please contact kmpt.
Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE) offers mental health first aid awareness, mental health first aider training and refresher courses. Courses can be taken online or face to face.
Mind Matters also runs accredited MHFAE courses, as well as courses to help Mental Health First Aiders continue to develop their skills and expertise.
Free courses in England also offers a Mental Health First Aid course.