← Back to search results

Mental Health First Aid England

Mental Health First Aid England are on a mission to train one in ten of the population in England in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) skills – because we all have mental health. Mental health education empowers people to care for themselves and others. By reducing stigma through understanding, they hope to break down barriers to the support that people may need to stay well, recover, or manage their symptoms – to thrive in learning, work and life.

Through their training, individuals learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone. They also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help materials, accessing therapy services, support groups, and more.

All of their ‘Youth Courses’ give delegates: an understanding of the common mental health issues affecting young people; skills to work more effectively with those who have mental health issues; and ways to support them and relate to their experiences.

Their longer courses help delegates to: spot the early signs of mental ill health in young people; start support conversations with them; listen to them non-judgmentally; assess the risk of suicide and self-harm; guide them to appropriate professional support or self-help strategies; escalate to appropriate professional services if necessary, maintain confidentiality as appropriate; and protect themselves whilst performing their role.

Examples of Programmes Offered

  • Youth Mental Health Aware (half day)
  • Who’s it for?
    Any education professional, school, alliance, federation or MATs looking for an introduction to mental health.

    Course overview
    This course is an introduction to mental health, designed to provide an understanding of some of the common mental health issues affecting young people including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and psychosis.

    The course develops:
    – skills to work more effectively with young people living with mental health issues as well as
    – ways to support young people with a mental health issue and relate to their experiences.

    Programme duration
    Three hours in a single day

    How many people is this for?
    Maximum of 25 per course. No limit on places per school

    Estimated cost
    Typically costs around £75 per person but may vary depending on location and instructor.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    This course is delivered face to face from a variety of venues nationwide. If commissioning a closed course, it may be possible to work with the instructor regarding venue. Contact MHFA for more information.

    Dates
    The course is delivered regularly at venues across the country.
    In addition, courses can be bespoke/arranged to meet schools’ needs.
    Contact MHFA to find out more.

    Possible Promotions
    – State secondary schools across England may be entitled to at least one free place on a Youth MHFA One Day course for school staff through one of our funded programmes.
    – To check eligibility, see if your school have already accessed this support, or to claim your free place, contact MHFA

  • Youth Mental Health Champions (one day)
  • Who’s it for?
    Teachers and staff, who interact with young people regularly but not necessarily in a primarily pastoral role.

    Course overview
    Designed in part to fit into training or INSET days, this course covers all the topics included in the two day (Youth Mental First Aider) course in a more succinct fashion. The one day course qualifies you as a Youth MHFA Champion.

    Youth MHFA Champions have:
    – An understanding of common mental health issues and how they can affect young people.
    – An ability to spot signs of mental ill health in young people and guide them to a place of support.
    – Knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness and Skills to support positive wellbeing

    Programme duration
    One day course lasting eight hours

    How many people is this for?
    Numbers 16 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn. Young people are welcome on the course but if you’re under the age of 16 we need consent from your parent or guardian.

    Estimated cost
    – For an individual to attend typically costs around £200 per person but may vary depending on location and instructor.
    – State secondary schools across England may be entitled to at least one free place on a Youth MHFA One Day course for school staff through one of our funded programmes.
    – To check eligibility, see if your school have already accessed this support, or to claim your free place, contact MHFA

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Face to face from a variety of venues nationwide.
    If commissioning a closed course, it may be possible to work with the instructor regarding venue.
    Contact MHFA for more information.

    Dates
    The course is delivered regularly at venues across the country.
    In addition, courses can be arranged to meet schools’ needs.
    Contact MHFA to find out more.

    Possible Promotions
    – State secondary schools across England may be entitled to at least one free place on a Youth MHFA One Day course for school staff through one of our funded programmes.
    – To check eligibility, see if your school have already accessed this support, or to claim your free place, contact MHFA

  • Youth Mental Health First Aider (two days)
  • Who’s it for?
    Leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff for whom the pastoral care of young people is a professional priority, who looking for a more in-depth version of the one day course.
    Heads of Year, Pastoral leaders, Designated Safeguarding Leads and Leaders of Inclusion

    Course overview
    The Youth MHFA Two Day course qualifies you as a Youth Mental Health First Aider. Youth Mental Health First Aiders have:
    – An in-depth understanding of young people’s mental health and factors that affect wellbeing.
    – Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and confidence to reassure and support a young person in distress.
    – Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening and knowledge to help a young person recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s through self-help sites, their place of learning, the NHS, or a mix – engaging with parents, carers and external agencies where appropriate.
    – Ability to support a young person with a long-term mental health issue or disability to thrive and tools to look after your own mental wellbeing

    Programme duration
    Two day course over consecutive days lasting eight hours per day.

    How many people is this for?
    Numbers are limited to 16 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn.
    Young people are welcome on the course but if you’re under the age of 16 we need consent from your parent or guardian.

    Estimated cost
    Typically costs around £300 per person but may vary depending on location and instructor.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Face to face from a variety of venues nationwide.
    If commissioning a closed course, it may be possible to work with the instructor regarding venue.
    Contact MHFA for more information.

    Dates
    The course is delivered regularly at venues across the country.
    In addition, courses can be arranged to meet your school’s needs.
    Contact MHFA to find out more.

  • MHFA Instructor Training (seven days)
  • Who’s it for?
    This course equips attendees to train others in the two-day MHFA programme

    Course overview
    This course qualifies you to deliver MHFA Two Day courses in your workplace or community. This will allow you to provide in-house training for your colleagues to facilitate a greater ability to support mental health as an organisation.

    Programme duration
    Seven days training spread across six weeks to allow you to become familiar with the material and reflect on your learning.
    You will need to do approximately 20 hours of your own study outside of the seven days, including time spent on preparing delivery materials for days four–five and six–seven.

    How many people is this for?
    Courses are limited to 12 delegates per course

    Estimated cost
    – £2,790 (inc VAT) per person.
    – In addition, to remain as a MHFA instructor; you will need to deliver a minimum of two courses per year, ensure everyone who attends your courses receives a manual and workbook that can be purchased from MHFA England, renew your annual membership.
    – The current membership fee is £75 as of April 2018 and attend a continuing professional development event.
    – MHFA England offers CPD events to expand your portfolio of courses (e.g. Adult MHFA, Youth MHFA, Armed Forces MHFA).
    – Or you can attend an external event relating to mental health or training skills

    Where and how is this delivered?
    At various locations across the country.
    Contact MHFA for more information.

    Dates
    The course is delivered regularly at venues across the country.
    Instructor training courses are very popular and get booked up quickly.
    Contact MHFA to find out more.

Delivery location

Mental Health First Aid England delivers programmes nationally in the UK.

Impact

Impact to date

MHFA England have trained over 250,000 people in mental health first aid skills. Since 2017, they have delivered over 100 Youth MHFA One Day courses and trained over 1,200 school staff as Youth MHFA Champions.

They report repeated evaluations show that the skills learned on their courses: increase knowledge and confidence in how to support someone experiencing mental health; improve attitudes to mental ill health issues, reducing stigma whilst normalising mental ill health to promote more empathetic approaches; are used by between 68.5%-88% of Mental Health First Aiders if they encounter someone experiencing mental ill health after a course; and have a direct positive impact on attendees’ own mental health and wellbeing with many reporting an increased ability to manage their own mental health.

Feedback provided by teachers three to six months after MHFA training demonstrates that their confidence in challenging students and staff about mental health, their ability to ask the right the questions to engage them in discussion and their ability to recognise mental health issues had all improved as a result. Case studies carried out by MHFA show that schools are now delivering MHFA training internally and becoming centers of excellence around student and staff wellbeing.

Impact measurements used

MHFA England aim to improve Mental Health First Aid skills. The outcomes they measure include: improvements in awareness and mental health literacy; improvements in attitudes towards mental ill health; and improvements in knowledge and confidence using Metal Health First Aid skills.

They measure their impact on them in a number of ways. They conduct mandatory pre and post course evaluations with participants, which capture both quantitative and qualitative information.

They follow up with participants between 3 and 6 months later to measure the lasting impact. They also carry out interviews with schools to build detailed case studies.

Finally, they work with a number of external partners to run large scale, independent evaluations.

External assessment of impact

An independent evaluation of Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in the North East of England was conducted by University of Westminster in 2013. It examined the effect of Youth MHFA Two Day courses delivered to 224 delegates across 18 venues in the North East of England. It found that:

  • – self-reported confidence in their ability to help young people with mental health issues and knowledge in how to support young people with mental health issues increased from a median rating of 5/10 to 8/10 (or by three points) – a highly statistically significant increase (p <.001);
  • – a longer term follow up at three to six months post training highlighted that many of the schools had clear implementation strategies in place to embed Youth MHFA and ALGEE (the MHFA action plan) into their organisation.
  • – analysis of open-ended responses on how delegates would respond to hypothetical scenarios also demonstrated continuing ability to identify symptoms of mental ill health and provide appropriate strategies for support and care.

Expertise

Programme design philosophy

MHFA deliver programmes to address the fact that there is an increasing prevalence of mental health issues among young people. They aim to improve and evaluate specific outcomes – upskilling frontline school staff to be able to support children with mental health issues.

Grounded in research and rigorously tested, their courses are developed by experts with input from people with lived experience of mental health issues. Depending on the length of the programme, they are delivered through a combination of presentations, discussions and groups activities to groups capped in sized to improve safety and learning support.

They continually develop their training products to keep them at the cutting edge of research and best practice. Their robust quality assurance processes ensure that instructors deliver training of the highest quality. They are the only organisation licensed to run MHFA instructor Training Programmes in England and their programme is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health.

Team experience and expertise

MHFA England are the only organisation in England licensed to deliver Mental Health First Aid training. They have over a decade of experience of delivering their training portfolio.

Their Youth instructors have access to a mentor throughout their training and will do 20 hours of their own study outside of the seven days, allowing them to become familiar with the material and reflect on their learning. They also receive a year of mentoring from one of our highly experienced National Trainers. They have a wide range of instructors with varied backgrounds, including former teachers, who share their knowledge, skills and experience on each course.

Testimonials

Hawkley Hall High School, Gary Morton, Headteacher

I found the training very informative, and tailored towards the age range of the young people in my setting. The course leader was extremely knowledgeable, and answered all further questions concisely and with confidence. We were offered the opportunity to safely discuss case studies from our own establishments, with sharing of good practice encouraged.

The training has given me greater knowledge and confidence in identifying, and immediately dealing with, a number of signs and triggers relating to a range of MH issues that can affect the young people in my care.

I would highly recommend the training to every school and education provider, and I believe that it should be mandatory for at least one member of staff from each of these providers to be MHFA trained.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Stephanie Gill, Principal

We feel the MHFA training was excellent both because of the quality of the training and the fact that the content (particularly the signs/symptoms and risk factors) was really useful for our pastoral staff. As a multi-academy trust, we have committed to ensuring at least two MHFA trained staff are in each of our schools and we have now developed a Mental Health Policy which links to MHFA.

Lewes Old Grammar School, Rob Blewitt, Headmaster

Caroline Hounsell representing MHFA led sessions for initially for the whole staff and then for nominated staff wishing to be Mental Health First Aiders. All involved found her presentations and training clear and inspirational.

It was universally agreed as the most thought provoking and relevant training received by staff in the last three years.

MHFA are experts in this field and their explanations were both knowledgeable and incisive. The discussions welcomed contributions from the floor and the pace and advice instilled confidence and was very uplifting despite the difficult nature of the subject.

Staff felt empowered after the training and it has helped us create systems and introduce changes that have made significant improvements for our school.

St Philip's School, Debbie Battle, Safeguarding and Prevention Officer

We know that emotions are the drivers of cognition and in some cases learning difficulties are the cause of mental health issues whereas in others it can be the reverse. It is really important for all our staff to be very aware of the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue so that an appropriate support plan can be put in place for each child’s emotional and educational needs… The overall benefit of staff attending the Youth MHFA course is that mental health has been brought into our consciousness and is enabling us to take a truly holistic approach to each child’s development. The language we are now using to talk about mental health is more appropriate and descriptive which in itself encourages conversations on the topic. We are also starting to identify potential mental health issues through our student’s written work which is a very powerful tool when it comes to early intervention and addressing a potential problem before it escalates

Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School, Alan Porteous, Headteacher

Our aim is for students to ‘enjoy and achieve’ whilst at school. To ensure that students do not have any barriers to their learning we need to support them holistically in providing top-quality pastoral care and this excellent course effectively raises awareness and understanding of mental health issues. To ensure that students do not have any barriers to their learning we need to support them holistically in providing top-quality pastoral care and this excellent course effectively raises awareness and understanding of mental health issues

Hawkley Hall High School, Gary Morton, Headteacher

I found the training very informative, and tailored towards the age range of the young people in my setting. The course leader was extremely knowledgeable, and answered all further questions concisely and with confidence. We were offered the opportunity to safely discuss case studies from our own establishments, with sharing of good practice encouraged.

The training has given me greater knowledge and confidence in identifying, and immediately dealing with, a number of signs and triggers relating to a range of MH issues that can affect the young people in my care.

I would highly recommend the training to every school and education provider, and I believe that it should be mandatory for at least one member of staff from each of these providers to be MHFA trained.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Stephanie Gill, Principal

We feel the MHFA training was excellent both because of the quality of the training and the fact that the content (particularly the signs/symptoms and risk factors) was really useful for our pastoral staff. As a multi-academy trust, we have committed to ensuring at least two MHFA trained staff are in each of our schools and we have now developed a Mental Health Policy which links to MHFA.

Lewes Old Grammar School, Rob Blewitt, Headmaster

Caroline Hounsell representing MHFA led sessions for initially for the whole staff and then for nominated staff wishing to be Mental Health First Aiders. All involved found her presentations and training clear and inspirational.

It was universally agreed as the most thought provoking and relevant training received by staff in the last three years.

MHFA are experts in this field and their explanations were both knowledgeable and incisive. The discussions welcomed contributions from the floor and the pace and advice instilled confidence and was very uplifting despite the difficult nature of the subject.

Staff felt empowered after the training and it has helped us create systems and introduce changes that have made significant improvements for our school.

St Philip's School, Debbie Battle, Safeguarding and Prevention Officer

We know that emotions are the drivers of cognition and in some cases learning difficulties are the cause of mental health issues whereas in others it can be the reverse. It is really important for all our staff to be very aware of the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue so that an appropriate support plan can be put in place for each child’s emotional and educational needs… The overall benefit of staff attending the Youth MHFA course is that mental health has been brought into our consciousness and is enabling us to take a truly holistic approach to each child’s development. The language we are now using to talk about mental health is more appropriate and descriptive which in itself encourages conversations on the topic. We are also starting to identify potential mental health issues through our student’s written work which is a very powerful tool when it comes to early intervention and addressing a potential problem before it escalates

Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School, Alan Porteous, Headteacher

Our aim is for students to ‘enjoy and achieve’ whilst at school. To ensure that students do not have any barriers to their learning we need to support them holistically in providing top-quality pastoral care and this excellent course effectively raises awareness and understanding of mental health issues. To ensure that students do not have any barriers to their learning we need to support them holistically in providing top-quality pastoral care and this excellent course effectively raises awareness and understanding of mental health issues