What is Mental Health First Aid?

For many years workplaces have had a responsibility to ensure that there are arrangements for the emergency treatment of minor to serious injuries and health problems. First aid is the initial assistance or care of a suddenly sick or injured person. The main aims of first aid are: 

  • To preserve life
  • To protect the casualty from further harm
  • To promote recovery

Mental Health First Aid is a certificated course, first developed in Australia. It has an international profile in 15 countries. The English version was developed in 2007 to train volunteers on how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

MHFAiders aren’t therapists and the aim is not to diagnose or treat people but to encourage and support them to access professional help, as well as signpost them to the right place. This could include self-help books or websites, guiding people to accessing therapy services through their GP, their university or place of work, or via online self-referral, support groups, and more.

MHFAiders are trained to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and can potentially avert a crisis from happening. They can do this by recognising warning signs, and they have the skills and confidence to approach and support someone experiencing mental ill-health. MHFAiders also have a role in supporting positive wellbeing and tackling stigma.

I'm experiencing mental ill health - how can I find a Mental Health First Aider at Imperial?

Imperial ID on a green lanyard

All Mental Health First Aiders can be contacted by phone or email.

How can I become a Mental Health First Aider?

Our Mental Health First Aid courses teach people to identify common symptoms of mental health issues, offer first line help and guide a person towards support.

Two different Mental Health First Aid training courses are available for staff who are involved in supporting colleagues or students: