What does that mean? Is the response I have had from most people when I explain I have completed the Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training with MHFA England. Well firstly, it means I am an improved instructor and I can deliver the two day MHFA adult course, but perhaps most importantly it means First Aid Training for your Mental Health – in just the same way we have First Aid Training for our Physical Health.

Interestingly few people realise that MHFA is even a thing. It is a thing, a big thing. World wide in fact, originating in Australia in 2000 and spreading across the world and to England in 2007. The Department of Health advocated all employers in England provide Mental Health First Aid training as one of three steps in 2012 ‘No Health Without Mental Health: Implementation Framework.

MHFA courses train people to spot early warning signs of mental health issues or illnesses and equips you with practical tips, advice and strategies to support, signpost and follow. It is also has the power to break down barriers and attitudes to mental health and encourages the conversation and understanding that we all have mental health – we really do all have a brain that we need to take care of!

In 2017 Theresa May announced a £15 million programme to provide every school with MHFA and educate children on mental wellbeing, followed up with the government publishing, Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper, to improve support for young people experiencing mental health issues.

At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, the Wheres Your Head At? campaign launched with the backing of Jeremy Corbyn, calling on the government to to change the law so that all employers have the the responsibility to make provision for mental health.

It seems there is a growing momentum around mental health to equip ourselves with the knowledge and skills needs to allow preventative methods of support instead of reactive – when oftentimes it is at the expense of someone’s health.

My question to you, is where is your head at when it comes to mental health in your work place? Self-care is a current buzz word and one that we hear so frequently but it is vitally important when it comes to taking care of our health, addressing stress and other factors that lead to mental health issues and illnesses. Finally, let us consider how mental health-aware, your place of work is? When we spend so much of our time at work – creating a mentally healthy workplace should be intrinsic to our working culture and a basic human right.

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