Mental Health First Aid

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Many people are still unfamiliar with mental health first aid and what it is exactly. The aim of a mental health first aid course is to enable people within the workplace to recognize individuals who are struggling with their mental health, to provide support, and if necessary, signpost them to the appropriate services.

These courses are not designed to equip people with the skills to diagnose, treat or offer any form of counseling. A mental health first aider acts as a designated point or contact for anyone who may want to share how they may be feeling while also having basic knowledge of mental health illnesses and how to potentially recognize the signs and symptoms.

What inspired me to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor?

I spent nearly eleven years on a lifeboat crew in Cornwall and during that time, I lost count of the amount searches for vulnerable, missing people I was involved with. Sadly, I have also attended suicides and these experiences will remain with me forever. I also worked as a community responder for the ambulance service for two years. I encountered many patients who clearly, were mentally ill.

I stumbled upon a quote around that time from Desmond Tutu which really struck me:

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in”.

I was given the opportunity to train as a mental health first aid instructor for Cornwall Training & Consultancy, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t decline.

Why is Mental Health First Aid important for business?

I’m sure that most people are aware of how huge this subject is right now. The Covid-19 pandemic has really brought mental health to the front of many people’s minds. Most of us have, in some way, struggled with life over the last two years. It might have been through loneliness, financial problems, or fractured relationships.

Having someone trained in mental health first aid provides a level of reassurance that your business or organisation is taking positive steps to put the mental well-being of all staff members at the very heart of what you do.

For more information on our Mental Health Courses check out our courses page. There is some good advice on the NHS Every Mind Matters site.