What is Mental Health First Aid training?

what is mental health first aid training

What is Mental Health First Aid training? Introduction

‘What is Mental Health First Aid training?’ is a crucial question to address in our fast-paced work environments where promoting mental wellbeing is increasingly important. This training is essential in preparing individuals to identify and respond to emerging mental health issues or crises promptly and effectively. Mental Health First Aid training equips people with the skills they need to recognise when someone is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, mental health first aid is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis resolves.

With the stresses inherent to the modern workplace, it’s more important than ever for organisations to support the mental wellbeing of their employees. Providing mental health first aid training is one of the most impactful ways to create a psychologically safe and supportive work environment. By giving staff the tools to identify signs of mental health struggles in themselves and others, organisations can build more resilient teams and foster a culture of compassion.

What is First Aid for Mental Health?

Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches people how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges in their workplaces or communities. Mental Health First Aid training does not teach people how to diagnose or treat mental health conditions. Instead, the training focuses on building mental health literacy – helping people understand typical symptoms of common conditions like anxiety, depression, and psychosis. It also provides a 4-step action plan to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge or in an emotional crisis. Just as CPR training helps a layperson with no clinical training assist someone following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares people to interact confidently when providing initial support to someone experiencing a mental health concern.

Why is Mental Health First Aid important?

Benefits of Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health First Aid training provides many benefits for individuals and organisations. Mental Health First Aid training builds skills in communication and crisis management that can be applied in other areas of life as well as during a crisis situation. The most significant benefits include:

Improved Mental Health Literacy

The training helps trainees better understand mental illnesses and addictions. It provides information on risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns. Trainees learn about evidence-backed treatments and self-help strategies. They gain knowledge to help them distinguish between a crisis situation requiring professional help versus a non-crisis situation. Overall, the course significantly improves mental health literacy.

Mental Health in the Workplace: Creating a Supportive Environment

Reduced Stigma

Mental Health First Aid training helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and addictions. It encourages compassionate and non-judgmental attitudes. The training provides an opportunity for open conversations about mental health in a safe environment. It builds understanding of how to respond to signs of mental illness and addiction. Reduced stigma creates workplaces where employees feel comfortable reaching out for support.

Increased Helping Behaviors

Studies show Mental Health First Aid training increases supportive actions towards individuals with mental health and addiction challenges. Trainees gain skills to recognise signs of distress and start a conversation. They learn how to actively and compassionately listen without judgment. The course builds confidence to assess risk and assist a person towards appropriate professional help and other support resources. Employees gain tools to better support co-workers, friends, and family members struggling with mental health or addiction issues.

Mental Health First Aid traning: Course Content

The Mental Health First Aid training course is highly interactive and focuses on building skills through role-playing and simulations. The course follows the CARE action plan:

  • Check for risk of suicide or harm
  • Apply non-judgmental listening
  • Reassure
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
How to talk about mental health at work

The course covers the following:

  • Common mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction
  • Risk factors and warning signs
  • Four-step CARE plan
  • Crisis situations and non-crisis situations
  • Self-care of the First Aider for Mental Health

The modules use interactive simulations, scenarios, and role-playing to build real-world skills for assessing situations, listening, communicating, and promoting help seeking behavior. Participants gain confidence in their ability to provide initial support to someone experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.

Who should take the Mental Health First Aid traning course?

Mental health first aid training is relevant for all employees across an organisation, regardless of role or seniority. Here are some of the key groups who will benefit most from undertaking this training:

All Employees

Every employee should consider taking a mental health first aid course. Mental health issues can affect anyone, and training equips people to recognise symptoms in themselves and others. It builds understanding, reduces stigma, and gives employees the skills to support coworkers who may be struggling. This contributes to a mentally healthy workplace culture.

What makes a good mental health first aider?

Managers & Team Leaders

Managers have a duty of care to their team members. Mental health first aid training is essential for managers to spot issues early, have supportive conversations, and signpost to appropriate help. This enables them to create an open environment where people feel able to discuss mental health. Managers will learn skills to assist team members experiencing mental distress.

HR Professionals

HR staff often find themselves dealing with mental health crises, conflicts, and absence issues without having full training. A mental health first aid course will give HR professionals greater confidence in handling mental health situations appropriately and sensitively. They will also gain skills to advise managers and implement workplace wellbeing initiatives.

What should a mental health first aider not do?

The course is relevant for all employees, at all levels of seniority and roles across the business. Investing in universal mental health first aid training demonstrates a strong commitment to employee wellbeing, and creates a work environment where everyone can thrive.

Implementing Mental Health First Aid traning in Your Workplace

Implementing mental health first aid training in your workplace provides essential skills and support for employees. There are several options for rolling out training, whether in-person or virtually.

In-Person Training

In-person training brings employees together for an immersive classroom experience. This allows for group discussions and interactive roleplaying of mental health scenarios. In-person courses are led by certified mental health first aid instructors. They can be held at the workplace or offsite.

Online Training

Online training provides remote access to live mental health first aid courses. This makes training more accessible for distributed workforces across multiple locations. Virtual courses follow similar curriculums as in-person training, led by certified instructors over Zoom or Teams.

How Many Mental Health First Aiders Should a Business Have?

Overcoming Stigma

A successful mental health first aid training program can help overcome stigma that may exist in the workplace. This starts with leadership buy-in and commitment to an inclusive, understanding culture. Leaders should communicate that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that seeking support is a sign of strength.

Anonymity and confidentiality help employees feel safe coming forward. Surveys can be conducted anonymously to assess stigma levels before and after training. Sharing general aggregate data from these surveys helps demonstrate progress and areas of improvement.

Small group training sessions allow for more intimate, judgment-free discussion. Participants can share personal anecdotes and connect on a human level. Facilitators should set ground rules upfront, like avoiding judgement and respecting privacy.

It’s also important that participation in mental health first aid training is voluntary. Forcing employees to take part could backfire and reinforce stigma if done incorrectly. With the right culture and environment, most will participate willingly. But the door should remain open as comfort levels improve.

Normalising conversations about mental health is a gradual cultural shift. But equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to support each other is a powerful first step. Workplaces that prioritise mental health are happier, healthier and more productive. Overcoming stigma leads to a more inclusive, understanding environment for all.

What Does a Mental Health First Aider Do: Unlocking the Power of Compassion.

How do you measure the impact of Mental Health First Aid traning?

Implementing mental health first aid training in your workplace is an investment, so it’s important to measure the impact to demonstrate value. There are several ways to track the effectiveness of the program:


Conduct anonymous surveys with employees before and after the training to gauge improvement. Ask questions about their understanding of mental health issues, confidence in supporting coworkers, and likelihood to seek help personally. Positive changes in these areas indicate the training is increasing mental health awareness and reducing stigma.

Reduced Absenteeism

Review absenteeism rates over time. A decrease shows the training may be helping employees better cope with stress and mental health challenges so they can maintain attendance.

Improved Staff Retention Rates

Calculate employee turnover rates. Improved retention demonstrates that staff feel more supported and inclined to stay with an employer who invests in their mental wellbeing.

Regularly analysing these metrics can quantify the ROI of mental health first aid training. Even small improvements make a compelling case for continuing and expanding the program across the organisation.

Mental Health First Aid traning: Success stories and real-life reviews from our clients

Improved Mental Health Literacy

Samantha took the Mental Health First Aid course with Wellbeing in Your Office this year. She said:

I attended a mental health first aid training course through Wellbeing in Your Office. Not only did it help in terms of considering how I support members of our team, but it really helped in terms of managing my own wellbeing. Highly recommend it.

Increased Confidence to Provide Support

Shona, a manager at Smartlead Marketing, noted that the mental health first aid training gave her confidence to reach out and provide initial support to employees going through mental health challenges since attending the First Aid for Mental Health training with Wellbeing in Your Office:

The first aider in mental health was incredibly insightful, gearing me with the knowledge to signpost and support colleagues if required. The virtual training made the course very accessible. Great course! Highly recommended. – Sheona – Smartlead Marketing

Creating a Supportive Culture

Claire, a Business Operations Executive, has seen positive cultural changes since implementing mental health first aid training at her company:

Informative course that I found very useful. A great starting point to ensure we have the right things in place for Mental Health First Aid within our business. The course was interactive which I find is the best way of learning so was enjoyable as well as useful.

What is mental health first aid training: Conclusion

Mental health first aid training provides immense value for both individuals and organisations. By taking this course, people gain the skills needed to recognise signs of mental health issues, provide initial support, and guide someone towards professional help and resources.

The benefits of training staff in mental health first aid are clear. Employees become more confident and equipped to assist co-workers who may be struggling. Organisations see improvements in workplace culture, reduced stigma, and higher productivity.

Most importantly, mental health first aid training can save lives. The simple act of reaching out, listening without judgement, and connecting someone to support can make all the difference for a person facing a mental health crisis. Compassionate action prevents situations from escalating and protects wellbeing.

Mental Health First Aid Course Online

Empower Your Workplace: Join our Mental Health First Aid Training course Today!

Ready to create an environment of understanding and support in your workplace? Join us on our mission to ensure no mental health concern goes unheard or untreated. By participating in one of our First Aid for Mental Health training courses offered at Wellbeing in Your Office, you can help dismantle the stigma surrounding mental health and create a haven of compassion and resilience.

Now is the time to prioritise mental health education and create psychologically safe, caring work environments. Contact Gosia at Wellbeing in Your Office today to schedule your First Aid for Mental Health course.

An investment in your people’s mental health and resilience will pay dividends for years to come. Let’s work together to build mentally healthy workplaces where everyone can thrive.

Gosia Federowicz - Co-Founder of Wellbeing in Your Office. First Aid for mental Health and Workplace Wellbeing. Digital Wellbeing. Mental health in the workplace. wellbeing activity ideas.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general knowledge and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional health, legal, or business advice. Readers should always consult with appropriate health professionals, human resource experts, or legal advisors for specific concerns related to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of publication, Wellbeing In Your Office cannot be held responsible for any subsequent changes, updates, or revisions of the aforementioned content.

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