Mental health problems are common. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any one year. This can be extremely distressing and potentially life threatening. It is generally accepted that early intervention can be an important factor in helping a person towards recovery but professional help is not always on hand.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) exists to address that. It is an internationally acclaimed training course which teaches ordinary members of the public how to spot the first signs and symptoms of a mental health problem developing in a friend, colleague or loved one. It then provides them with the practical skills they need to provide initial help before guiding the person towards the right kind of professional support they might need to help deal with that problem.
The course also challenges the stigma and discrimination that often surrounds mental health and helps people start an adult conversation on the subject, ultimately leading to healthier people, workplaces and communities.
In addition trainees leave the course with a better understanding of how they can monitor and manage the stresses and strains of their own lives to help keep themselves well.
MHFA can be delivered to groups of up to 16 people, usually over 2 days. However its modular nature also means that it can also be delivered more flexibly to fit in with the needs of your organisation . Each participant leaves the course with a detailed manual and workbook for their future reference and they also receive a certificate of attendance from the MHFA England CIC.
Bill Cunningham was one of the first instructors trained to deliver MHFA when it first arrived from Australia in 2007 and has trained hundreds of people all over England. He is also approved by NHS Health Scotland to deliver Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA). Since 2009 he has also been a National Trainer for the MHFA England CIC and has helped train over 200 MHFA instructors.