One in four people in the UK will suffer from a mental health issue each year and yet two-thirds have no one to speak to about their mental health, according to a poll for Time To Talk Day 2019 by Time To Change.
While it is a legal requirement to have physical first aiders in every workplace, and in many public places and events, we’re still a long way from seeing our mental health treated in the same way.
We hope to change that here at SkillBase First Aid, by training people as mental health first aiders who will be able to assist those in the workplace suffering with mental ill health, and signposting them to the appropriate professional help for them.
First, some important statistics…
- Mental illness is the second-largest source of burden of disease in England. Mental illnesses are more common, long-lasting and impactful than other health conditions (1)
- At any given time, 1 in 6 working-age adults have symptoms associated with mental ill health (2)
- Mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year (3)
- People with a long-term mental health condition lose their jobs every year at around double the rate of those without a mental health condition. This equates to 300,000 people – the equivalent of the population of Newcastle or Belfast (4)
- 70-75% of people with diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment at all (5)
- 69% of UK line managers say that supporting employee wellbeing is a core skill, but only 13% have received mental health training. 35% of line managers reported a wish for basic training in common mental health conditions (6)
- Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide and coronary heart disease (7)
So, what exactly is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course which teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.
MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but just like physical first aid, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. Adult MHFA courses are for everyone aged 16 upwards. Every MHFA course is delivered by a quality assured instructor accredited by The Royal Society for Public Health, and is trained to keep people safe and supported while they learn.
Where does it come from?
The Mental Health First Aid programme was developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener and Anthony Jorm in 2000. Since 2003, MHFA has spread to a large number of other countries. Globally, over 3 million people have been trained in mental health first aid, with 400,000+ in England.
MHFA training has a 20 year history with a strong evidence base. It is proven to increase people’s mental health awareness, knowledge, skills and confidence. This enables them to intervene in situations where they notice signs of poor mental health.
What do you learn on a Mental Health First Aid course?
The learning is a practical skills and awareness course designed to give you:
- A deeper understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect people’s wellbeing, including your own
- Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
- Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
- Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
- Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to appropriate support
In each session participants will learn how to:
- Spot the triggers and early signs of mental health issues
- Have the confidence to help someone experiencing a mental health problem
- Carry out Mental Health First aid using enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgmental listening
- Help when someone shows signs of distress and potential of causing harm to themselves of there
- Prevent mental illness progressing
- Assist with mental health recovery by guiding them to appropriate support
- Proactively reduce the stigma of mental health issues
Ready to become a Mental Health First Aid Superhero?
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We also have a dedicated Mental Health Training Manager to consult with you and your organisation on strategy, implementing MHFA and all wellbeing related policies.
We believe in equality between mental and physical health, that’s why we provide training in both.
(1) Public Health England. Health profile for England: 2019 [Internet]. 2019. Available from: gov.uk
(2) McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 [Internet]. Leeds; 2016. Available from: content.digital.nhs.uk
(3) Centre for Mental Health. Mental health at work: The business costs ten years on [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Oct 16]. Available from:
(4) Stevenson D, Farmer P. Thriving at work: The Independent Review of Mental Health and Employers [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 22]. Available from: gov.uk
(5) Davies SC. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013, Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence [Internet]. 2014. Available from: gov.uk
(6) Business in the Community. Mental Health at Work 2019: Time To Take Ownership [Internet]. 2019. Available from: wellbeing.bitc.org.uk
(7) A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet [Internet]. 2018 Nov 10 [cited 2020 Jan 7];392(10159):1789–858. Available from: thelancet.com