Talking about mental health is being encouraged more than ever before, and big businesses have started a campaign to make mental health first aid as important as physical first aid in the workplace.

Last month an open letter signed by lots of top business executives backing a focus on mental health first aid was sent to the prime minister. The letter called for mental health first aid to be given the same priority as physical first aid at work, and we also think this can only be a good thing.

Mental health first aid isn’t as well known as other longer-established physical first aid courses, so we thought we’d answer a few of the most common questions we’ve come across in a quick blog post for you

1. What is mental health first aid?

Just like other forms of first aid, mental health first aid teaches people how to offer initial support to someone until they can get appropriate professional help. It doesn’t teach you how to diagnose or treat mental health issues.

Traditionally, first aid training hasn’t incorporated mental health issues, which is why mental health first aid training courses have been developed.

2. Why is mental health first aid important in the workplace?

We all want our staff to be healthy and happy at work. And if they’re not, we want to know about it so that we can help. This is why it’s been suggested that every workplace should have a person trained in mental health first aid in every workplace.

In the open letter to the prime minister, it said that mental health issues cost the economy almost £35 billion. This equates to 15.4 million working days being lost due to work-related stress depression or anxiety.

Martin Coyd of Building Mental Health, one of the companies to sign the letter, said that

there is “a huge role for business to play in raising awareness and helping people to access help when they need it,” something that access to mental health first aiders would help to do.

3. What do you learn on a mental health first aid course?

On a mental health first aid course, you’ll learn about what mental health is, and what factors can affect a person’s wellbeing. You’ll be taught practical skills to spot the signs of mental illness so that you can be confident in stepping in and supporting a person who needs help.

Looking for mental health support?

The Time to Change website has some amazing resources for people looking for help with their own mental health and for those wanting to help others. Check it out at

For support with your mental health, you can also contact Samaritans on 116 123, or NHS 111.

Interested in doing a mental health first aid course?

Due to our ongoing work with the NHS and our Gym Buddy scheme we have decided to invest in Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health First Aid Training.

We will be offering a qualification at Level 2 teaching you about Mental Health. This will be a recognised Level 2 Award via ActiveiQ and will be certificated. Please feel free to send us a message if you’d like more information about registering for this course.

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