Mental Health First Aid

Between 2003 and 2008, Mental Health First Aid Training was rolled out across the UK.  First developed in Australia, the concept was simple – to create a mental health equivalent to the well established physical first aid.  Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is now a programme of simple steps that can be used to help a person in distress.

Why Become a Mental Health First Aider?

The Printing Charity would encourage all organisations to consider training a Mental Health First Aider.  Those who take MHFA courses are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance. The training provides participants with the skills and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively guide a person towards the right support, be that self-help or professional services. MHFA training also teaches people to look after their own mental wellbeing and spreads the important message that we all have mental health.

The role of a Mental Health First Aider

Being a Mental Health First Aider is a voluntary role, and the training includes guidance around setting boundaries and defining the role to try and protect the first aider’s own mental health and wellbeing.  The Printing Charity recognises this can be a difficult balancing act, and that often there is only one appointed Mental Health First Aider within an organisation, creating a risk of isolation and lack of support, and as such now offer a Mental Health First Aiders Support Service as part of their helpline offering.


Mental Health First Aider Support Service

Mental Health First Aiders can call The Printing Charity helpline to speak with a counsellor to speak in confidence about a particularly challenging or upsetting conversation with someone who has required their support.  The intention of the service is to assist the individual to manage the often difficult and potentially distressing conversations they may have, and to enable them to maintain the role safely and responsibly as outlined by MHFA England.  The call will help to process any distressing thoughts and feelings arising from the work and reduce the impact on the Mental Health First Aider of the conversations they may have with those they are supporting.  The counsellor can also offer support on how to respond to the scenarios raised, discussing the wider implications and likely effects, and explore support options that may be presented to the individual, including the referral back to the helpline counselling and information and advice services.

How Do I Access the Support Service?

If your organisation has already launched the helpline service, call the helpline in the usual way, hold for a counsellor and identify yourself as a Mental Health First Aider.

If your organisation has not yet launched the service, contact The Printing Charity and explain that you’d like to be connected to the helpline.  You will be asked some simple questions to validate your connection to the industry, before your call is transferred.

Useful links