Sarah McIntosh, Director of People and Organisational Effectiveness at Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England shares a message for our community

Every now and again I have to pinch myself and say – is this really happening? These are unprecedented times for everyone. All around us people are worried. Whether that be about isolating, social distancing, health fears for themselves and others or finances – there are too many worries to list.

As Mental Health First Aiders we have the skills to be able to support people at work and in our communities and I know that you will be doing all you can to support friends, colleagues and family right now – online and over the phone, if not in person.

We are passionate and caring people. It’s natural for us to want to help and support as many people as we can – it’s one of the many qualities that make Mental Health First Aiders such an effective and brilliant supportive network.

I just want to say to all Mental Health First Aiders that it is really really important to look after your own wellbeing at this time. Please don’t be afraid to step back if you do not feel able to do the role and provide support at this time.

At MHFA England we know from talking to Mental Health First Aiders that some people do find it hard to take a break – but it is really important that you are mentally and physically fit enough to provide signposting and support. And if you are not well, for whatever reason, please do the right thing for you and look after yourself.

Self-care is a vital way for people to help protect their mental health and prevent issues from getting worse. So over the coming weeks we will be continuing to share useful content across our channels to support you. To kick this off, yesterday we published guidance about staying mentally well when working from home as part of the My Whole Self campaign.

Many of you will be working from home and may be providing MHFA support remotely. For all of us building working routines, being active and staying connected with others are absolutely vital to our wellbeing. Eating well and sleeping well, and really trying to do existing or new activities that bring joy.

As a Mental Health First Aiders - whether you are working remotely or in a face to face situation - holding your boundaries and making sure you get any support you need remain key.

Thank you, as always, for all you are doing at this important and challenging time.

Find further sources of support and advice at