What is Mental Health First Aid? (MHFA)

Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis

We’re all familiar with ‘traditional’ first aid – helping people with a physical problem (whether it be an injury, illness or medical condition) before they seek professional medical attention.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an extension of the ‘first aid’ concept into helping people suffering from a mental health crisis (or at risk of developing one). The course is often run over a weekend and helps participants gain an understanding of various common acute mental health conditions and what ‘first aid’ steps they should take.

Mental Health First Aid originated in Australia, you can read more about the original programme on the MHFA Australia website.

MHFA programmes have spread all over the world, here are some links to national programmes:

> MHFA England

> MHFA Scotland

> MHFA Wales

> MHFA Canada


Have you ever been on a Mental Health First Aid course? Was it any good? Would you recommend it to others?

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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2 Responses

  1. katews says:

    I was not aware until now that something like a mental health first aid course existed… and now that I know, I think it’s an excellent idea.

    I’m not sure if mental illnesses are on the rise constantly or if they are just being diagnosed more readily now that the stigma isn’t as strong, but I can think of many instances where having “first aid” in these cases would be beneficial.

  2. cpefley says:

    I had never even thought about what to do in a mental health situation. I didn’t even know that there was mental health first aid. Thanks for posting all the links for all the countries.

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