What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid teaches you to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental distress.

The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support someone who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis. Once you have learnt these skills you can use them both in your personal and working life when responding to a crisis event. The basis of mental health first aid is caring about the person in distress. It involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and, if needed, providing practical assistance, such as problem solving or help to access basic needs.

When we experience frightening or distressing events like these we react with our bodies, thoughts and feelings. This is natural. It is important to understand this. Everyone reacts when they go through something stressful and difficult. Most people recover from difficult experiences by themselves or with the help of friends, family, or others.

Mental health first aid involves knowing common reactions to distressing events and how to help people cope with these reactions. It also can help people in distress cope better emotionally and practically, and in this way help reduce negative impacts of crises events.

Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address potential mental distress. It is a way of assisting someone to manage their situation and make informed decisions.

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