In today's fast-paced and demanding world, mental health is a critical aspect of overall wellbeing. Just as we learn first aid to help with physical injuries, it is equally important to understand how to support those who may be struggling with their mental health. 
What is an MHFAider? 
Like traditional first aiders who provide immediate assistance for physical injuries, MHFAiders provide initial support, encouragement, and signposting of a person to identify and access sources of professional help and other support. 
Qualities and values of an MHFAider 
MHFAiders embody a set of qualities and values that are fundamental to their role.  MHFAiders should be [1]: 
- Approachable: Creating a safe and open environment for communication 
- Impartial: Remaining neutral and non-judgemental to foster trust 
- Non-judgemental: Avoiding biases and preconceived notions 
- Confidential: Respecting the privacy of the individual being supported 
- Empathetic: Demonstrating understanding and compassion 
- Skilled Listener: Practice active listening and empathy 
- Trustworthy: Building trust through consistent and reliable behaviour 
- Patient: Allowing individuals to express themselves at their own pace 
Responsibilities of an MHFAider 
The primary role of an MHFAider is to provide support and signpost someone experiencing poor mental health to the support available to them. MHFAiders also play a vital role in reducing stigma and promoting positive mental health in the workplace. 
Some of their key actions and responsibilities include: 
- Applying the MHFA action plan: An approach to support that involves being aware of signs and symptoms, approaching individuals thoughtfully, assisting in crisis situations, using active listening skills, and signposting to professional resources 
- Understanding the Mental Health Continuum: Recognising that people's mental health can fluctuate  
- Knowing how to use the MHFAider Support App®: Utilising our app to access online resources to signpost to appropriate support 
- Practising self-care: Prioritising personal wellbeing to be in a position to provide support to those around them 
- Maintaining boundaries: Establishing clear limits in the role to ensure the wellbeing of both the MHFAider and the person being supported 
Why Mental Health First Aid matters 
Everyone has mental health and as a nation we are growing in our understanding of how poor mental health can affect us all in the workplace. With 1 in 4 people experiencing poor mental health, the need for understanding and support is evident [2]. Unfortunately, stigma still surrounds mental health, making it difficult for individuals to seek help. MHFAiders bridge this gap by offering a listening ear, promoting early intervention, and signposting to additional sources of support. 
The impact of MHFA in the workplace 
Thames Water, a leading organisation, has successfully integrated MHFA England training into their workplace culture, introducing Mental Health First Aiders as part of their 'Time to Talk' mental health strategy.  
This has led to an 80% reduction in work-related illness absence cases over five years. According to Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer at Thames Water, "Mental Health First Aiders are a catalyst for engagement, providing our employees with the confidence to come forward and seek support at their time of need." This commitment to mental health has transformed their workplace and demonstrates the importance of MHFA in organisations. [3] 
Becoming an MHFAider 
Becoming an MHFAider is a great opportunity for individuals to make a positive impact on wellbeing in their organisation and beyond.    
Find out about our Mental Health First Aider training course, to learn more about your own self-care, and spotting the signs of those who may be experiencing poor mental health to provide them with first-level support and early intervention.   

Learn more about course here

Interested in workplace training?  
Want to learn more about how we can support your workplace with mental health consultancy and training?   
Email and talk to our team of experts to discover what solution is best for your workplace.  
[1] Mental Health First Aid England: Your Manual. 2022 
[2] Mind: Mental health facts and statistics, 2023 
[3] Mental Health First Aid England: Thames Water