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Mental Health First Aider (MHFA)

In April 2019 I did the Adult MHFA Two Day course. Below is a list of the topics covered

(taken from


  • Why Mental Health First Aid?
  • The Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • What is mental health?
  • Impact of mental health issues
  • Stigma and discrimination
  • What is depression?
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Risk factors for depression
  • Depression in the workplace

  • Suicide figures
  • Alcohol, drugs and mental health
  • First aid for suicidal crisis
  • Non-judgemental listening skills
  • First aid for depression
  • Treatment and resources for depression 
  • Self-care

  • What is an anxiety disorder?
  • First aid for anxiety disorders
  • Crisis, first aid after a traumatic event
  • Alcohol, drugs and anxiety disorders
  • Treatment and resources for anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive distortions and CBT
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm

  • What is psychosis?
  • Risk factors for psychosis
  • Alcohol, drugs and psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Warning signs of developing psychosis
  • Crisis first aid for acute psychosis
  • Treatment and resources for psychosis
  • Recovery and building resources
  • Action planning for using MHFA

It’s a bit like usual first aid but instead of physical injuries, you’re dealing with mental health issues. We can respond in a crisis and recognise the warning signs which can sometimes result in us supporting a person and keeping them safe until professional help arrives.

Personally, I thought the course was invaluable. I learnt so much about how to deal with people showing signs of poor mental health and how to confidently come to their aid. I also learnt that we all have mental health… it’s just where we are on the continuum at any time as to whether we are able to cope.

As the MHFA states – the qualification won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially stop a crisis from happening. It also gives you the confidence to signpost someone to seek further support including reading materials, the GP and other sources.

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