Quick facts about the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course - What to expect

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course is a two-day programme that typically runs from 9am-5pm on each day. 

The course develops your skills and knowledge to be able to spot the signs if someone is struggling with their mental health and to know what to do to help them.  

The MHFA syllabus covers a whole range of topics including the impact of stigma, indicators of stress, depression, suicide, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, self harming behaviours and psychosis.

It’s a jam packed course but it’s not just a case of sitting and listening for two-days. We use a mix of case studies, films, and individual and group exercises to explore the subject in different ways.

MHFA England is the awarding body for the qualification and they produce some super resources. So when you complete your course you’ll take home a manual stacked with useful information, a workbook, a Line Manager’s Guide (if appropriate) and a certificate. 

What skills do you need to be a Mental Health First Aider?

You don’t need any prior skills or knowledge in terms of mental health conditions. 

Having the motivation to learn about the topic and a desire to want to help others is important though. 

How do I get certified in Mental Health First Aid?

Well, you sign up for a course and attend! Providing you engage with the content as much as you can during the course you will receive an  certificate of attendance. 

We run mental health first aid courses that anyone is welcome to join. You can also arrange in-house courses for your team.


How long do Mental Health First Aid Certificates last?

The certificate is valid for 3 years in line with other first aid qualifications. You can then either complete the full course again or do a refresher course. 

How much does a Mental Health First Aid course cost?

MHFA England values the course at £300 per person. There is some variation regionally though. The cost is also influenced by the type of training organisation, the type of venues that they use, and whether it’s an in-house or public course (the cost is typically significantly reduced for in-house courses). 

Finally, the course gives you a lot but don't expect...

A Counselling Qualification

The focus of the course is how you can help others to find the right kind of support. It is not a counselling or therapeutic qualification.

In the same way that physical first aiders are not expected to be medical experts, Mental Health First Aiders do not need to act like psychiatrists, counsellors or therapists!

Being a first aider is about keeping people safe, encouraging their wellbeing and helping them to get the right kind of professional support if they need it. That’s what the MHFA course is about. 

Personal Therapy

Although people may choose to reflect on examples from their own experience, the focus of the course is very much on how we can help others. So although it will hopefully help your own wellbeing, it’s definitely not two days of personal therapy. 

The Magic ‘Fix’ for Employee Wellbeing

Although we touch upon what can help with employee wellbeing and what can help to prevent problems, this is not the key focus. The MHFA course mainly focuses on helping you to know what to do if people are experiencing difficulties with their mental health.

So the MHFA course is a hugely important part of an organisation’s wellbeing strategy but ideally, it sits with other proactive measures to develop employee wellbeing. This often means considering the organisation’s overall culture and work practices.

That’s why we don’t just offer MHFA courses. We also work with organisations on a consultancy basis to help them to embed employee wellbeing as part of their culture. This includes strategy design together with coaching and training sessions for their leaders and teams as needed. 


Categories: Mental Health

Louise Ansell

Louise works with leaders and their teams to give them the knowledge and strategies to SUSTAIN performance and wellbeing – even in the face of adversity. Her career started at the top of mountains training people to lead through life threatening situations. This progressed to lecturing leadership skills and training teachers through to working with rescue teams, NHS senior leaders and business startups to global brands. She writes many of the Sky Bounders courses and articles and works with a range of clients on a personal coaching, training and consultancy basis. Beyond the work context, you'll find her enjoying life’s crazy adventures – whether that’s in the mountains, climbing on sea cliffs, messing about on paddle boards or simply enjoying exploring beautiful places.


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