This qualitative study was completed as an MSc in Public Health dissertation. The author, Graeme Potter, works for the Public Health & Wellbeing Directorate, NHS West Sussex.
The study examined how attendance on an MHFA course affects support provided by health professionals (health trainers with no prior training in mental health) to people experiencing mental health issues. Three health trainers were interviewed before taking the course and three months after taking the course. It found that:
Participants more readily recognised mental health issues in clients and were more at ease with discussing mental health issues post training
Participants had a higher awareness of mental health services on offer and established better referral pathways within their practice
and concluded that:
“MHFA training appears to increase the help and support provided by health trainers to clients living with mental health problems, through the provision of a more comfortable environment for clients to discuss mental health problems and the provision of help and guidance towards appropriate support”
MHFA should be considered as training for frontline health professionals with no prior mental health training