Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist – but just like physical first aid, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health, and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe. You’ll also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This might include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP, their school or place of work, online self-referral, support groups, and more.
What’s more, you’ll gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you.
For more detail on what you learn on the different MHFA England courses, visit the course pages from the menu above.
MHFA England courses are for everyone! Our courses are designed so that you don’t need existing knowledge of mental health, just like you don’t need a medical background to take a first aid course.
We would recommend MHFA England training for anyone – just as it’s a good idea for people to have basic knowledge of physical first aid. Here are just some of the people who benefit from MHFA skills:
People under 16 are welcome on our courses, but you’ll need permission from your parent or guardian first.
We believe MHFA training works as one part of a joined up mental healthcare system. Each of our courses are based on research and developed by mental health experts with input from people with lived experience of mental ill health.
Research and evaluation has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of MHFA training in England and worldwide. To learn more visit our Research and evaluation page. You can also read about the impact of our training across a range of organisations in our case studies.
It depends on what you are interested in and who you want to support. We have courses to help you support:
Once you have chosen your area of interest, you can then choose the length of course you want to take.
Or, if you are an organisation looking to book multiple places on or in-house delivery, go to our Organisations page to learn more and book.
You’ll need to contact the instructor directly – simply reply to their booking confirmation email.
If you can’t get in touch with the instructor this way, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
Costs vary depending on the location and instructor, but we value our courses as follows:
Two day courses: £300 per person
One day courses: £200 per person
Half day courses: £125 per person
If you have any questions about the cost of attending a course, please contact the instructor of the course you are interested in. Occasionally, some instructors may be able to access local funding to allow them to offer discounted places.
If you are an organisation looking to book multiple places on a course or in-house delivery, please contact our Commercial Team on 0203 928 0760 to discuss prices.
As a community interest company, the money we make goes back into funding our courses. This allows us to make sure all courses meet our quality standards, keep the content up to date, produce all of our materials and create new courses. The money you pay to attend a course will help the instructor cover their costs such as venue hire, travel and course materials.
Occasionally, some instructors may be able to access funding to allow them to offer discounted or free places. Use the Book a course tool to browse courses in your area. Or contact us on email@example.com and we can send out a message to instructors in your area to see if they have any discounted places available.
You may also be able to get your employer, place of learning, or a local community organisation to sponsor you to take the course.
Our Mental Health First Aider courses are two days long. We also offer one day courses to become a Mental Health Champion, and half day Mental Health Aware sessions.
MHFA Two Day courses usually run from 9am-5pm on two days in a row. MHFA One Day courses run 9am-5pm on any day of the week and MHFA Half Day courses are either a morning or afternoon session of three hours. Take a look at the Book a course section to see the dates and times of courses near you.
If you’re on a Two Day course, you need to attend both days to become a Mental Health First Aider. All parts of the course are equally important to learn a safe grounding in MHFA skills.
Once you have chosen the type of course you’re interested in, go to the ‘Book your course’ section at the bottom of the page and use the location or postcode filter to find courses near you.
If you can’t find one in your area, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will put a call out to local instructors to see if they have anything coming up.
At the end of your course you will get a certificate to say you are a Mental Health First Aider (Two Day courses), a Mental Health Champion (One Day courses) or Mental Health Aware (Half Day courses).
Like physical first aid, we recommend that you renew your MHFA training every three years. We update our course contents regularly to keep them up to date with current mental health research.
Please allow four weeks for your certificate to be processed. It’s also worth checking your spam/junk folder in case it has ended up in there by mistake.
If you still haven’t received it, email us on email@example.com. To help us track it down, please let us know:
Certainly – just send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know:
There’s plenty you can do to raise awareness of mental health and MHFA England skills in your community! Take a look at our free toolkits for some resources and materials to get you started.
You may also like to follow us on social media or sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with what we’re doing. We support mental health campaigns throughout the year such as World Mental Health Day, Time to Talk Day and Mental Health Awareness Week and we are often looking for members of the MHFA community to get involved, for example by sharing your story.
Want to teach MHFA courses yourself? We offer an Instructor Training programme that could change your life.
If you’re interested in working for MHFA England central team, check out our careers page for our latest vacancies.
Our seven day Instructor Training programme qualifies you to deliver your own MHFA England courses independently. As the only provider of licensed Mental Health First Aid courses in England, our Instructor Training programme is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health.
As the idea of Mental Health First Aid becomes more popular, some other training providers are starting to offer unlicensed 'mental health first aid' or 'first aid for mental health' instructor training.
We would advise caution when choosing a training provider, whether you're looking for a mental health first aid course or interested in becoming an instructor yourself. The quality and safety of courses provided by other training providers cannot be guaranteed.
The cost of an MHFA England Instructor Training programme reflects the quality of teaching, materials and support that you will receive as part of your seven day experience. Cheaper, unlicensed training is unlikely to have the evidence base or quality that is associated with MHFA England Instructor Training programmes, which have been running for over ten years and are part of a global programme run in 25 countries.
Learn more here: Why train with us?
Check out our selection of free resources to download at mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/resources where you'll find posters, infographics, and tips for mental health and wellbeing at work, at school, and in the community.
For safety reasons, MHFA England manuals are only given out on courses and can’t be ordered separately. The guidance and training provided by the course instructor will give people the understanding and skills to use the resources in the manual safely and appropriately.
MHFA is a global movement that is now in 25 countries! Each country licenses their own MHFA programme separately – you can see a list of all international MHFA programmes at mhfainternational.org.
If MHFA is not in your country yet, you can find out how to license it in your country at mhfainternational.org/license-mhfa.html.
Quick links to other MHFA organisations in the UK:
In an emergency:
If you or someone else needs medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency:
This is a free number to call. They can direct you to your local crisis support services and mental health organisations and offer health advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year