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While many are familiar with first aid, the same can’t always be said for mental health first aid. In our latest post, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about mental health first aid to give you a better understanding of what it is and how it can benefit those that need it. In simple terms, mental health first aid refers to a training program that teaches members of the public how to support someone developing a mental health problem. 

Understanding what mental health first aid is.
Through the completion of a mental health first aid program, course members will gain an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can directly affect wellbeing. Beyond understanding, mental health first aiders will hold the practical skills that allow them to identify any triggers and mental health issues, giving them the confidence to step in and support a person in distress. 

While traditional first aid programs are very hands-on, mental health first aid has a strong focus on enhancing the interpersonal skills someone should have in order to assist someone with mental health problems. From non-judgement listening skills to offering knowledge and support to help someone through their recovery, this compressive course ensures members of the public are equipped to deal with sensitive incidents in the best way possible. 

The role of a mental health first aider.
A mental health first aider is the go-to person for anyone who is experiencing some form of mental health issue. A fully trained first aider will be on hand to guide that person to get the relevant help and support they need. As well as being on hand to support those who have identified their need for help, a mental health first aider will be trained to spot the signs of those who are struggling, allowing them to intervene before problems escalate.  

While mental health first aiders are on hand to support individuals when they need it, it doesn’t qualify them to provide any kind of therapy to someone who needs it. Rather than dealing with the issues faced themselves, first aiders are on hand to provide support and relevant information to get the necessary help for those who need it. 

Why is mental health first aid so important?
While workplaces and various establishments will have one or more physical first aiders on hand, mental health first aiders aren’t always as common to come by. Of course, mental health is as important as physical health and should be treated as such. With mental health issues in the UK and beyond rising, it’s essential that individuals can spot the warning signs and understand the risk factors associated with mental health, it could potentially save lives. 

While friends and family of someone developing a mental issue might recognise signs, they don’t always know how to intervene safely, which is why first aiders are so crucial. When people are trained to offer help when it’s needed most, it can make the world of difference. All too often, those who require the support of mental health services don’t get it until it’s too late. So, encouraging people to take on mental health first aid courses can transform workplaces and organisations to a much safer, healthier and happier place. 

In theory, mental health first aid is the emotional equivalent of physical first aid. It’s giving those facing mental health challenges potentially life-saving support when they need it most thanks to the training required to do so.