Keep it Simple – What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses are internationally recognised training courses which teach individuals how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health, provide help on a first aid basis, and signpost to further resources. The courses also help reduce stigma and empower people to become more mentally resilient.

Why Mental Health First Aid?

The impact that mental health problems can have on an individual and those around them (friends, family, and colleagues) can be profound.  Whilst employers have a responsibility to look after the health and safety (including mental health) of their employees, and have a moral duty as part of their social responsibility, the financial impact of poor mental health in the workplace makes MHFA a simple, but cost-effective policy to implement.  (More information on the financial cost of mental health problems can be found in the section entitled Why MHFA?)

It is estimated that 75% of all adult mental health problems begin in childhood, with one in ten young people experiencing a mental health issue at any one time.  The Youth MHFA courses teach you the skills and confidence to spot the signs of mental health issues in a young person, offer first aid and guide them towards the support they need. In doing so, you can speed up a young person’s recovery and stop a mental health issue from getting worse.


First and foremost, all training is headed up by Dr A.J. Yates who not only brings experience from a range of healthcare backgrounds, but has thousands of hours of practise providing first aid (and mental health first aid) care to those in need.  This, coupled with his extensive doctoral research at the University of Westminster (investigating women’s lived experience of distress) makes him an authority in the area of how everyday distress (as well as diagnosable mental illnesses) can impact on the wellbeing of those affected.  More information about Dr Yates can be found on the About Us page.

Being an instructor member for MHFA England and accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health, courses run by AJMH are guaranteed to have the latest course content from MHFA England.  However, being a local business AJMH has low overheads and so can offer the courses at a reduced rate, but still offer excellent service in terms of personalised care, quality venues, and level of catering.  If larger companies have suitable premises to host a course, and sufficient delegates to attend, additional savings can be made – please contact us for details.

How Do We Know Mental Health First Aid Works?

MHFA England have been keen to ensure that the MHFA courses are evidence based.  As they state on their website: “We believe MHFA training works as one part of a joined up mental healthcare system.  Each of our courses are based on research and developed by mental health experts with input from people with lived experience of mental ill health”.

A report by the Centre for Mental Health has claimed that effective programmes which manage mental health at work can reduce the cost of mental health problems for employers by 30%.  At the time of the report, this equated to saving British businesses £8 billion a year.

For additional resources to help employers discover the value of MHFA, please click here.

Why Do Courses Need to Have a Set Number of Delegates?

As outlined above, MHFA England lay down the criteria for the courses.  As the courses have interactive elements, a minimum number of students is required in order for sessions to have maximum benefit.  The maximum number (sixteen) is set to ensure that all students have the opportunity to fully participate and interact with the rest of the group, whilst having the full attention of the trainer.

Why Do Students Have to be Aged 16 Years or Over?

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the course content, the MHFA courses are not suitable for anyone less than 16 years of age.  MHFA England are currently looking at developing MHFA courses suitable for children.

How Will I Get My Certificate?

All certificates for MHFA England courses are issued electronically by MHFA England.    AJMH will process the paperwork as soon as is reasonably practicable – those attending open courses usually receive their certificate via email on the day.  Certificates for in-company courses are issued as soon as possible after course once the invoice for the course has been paid.