Mental Health First Aiders
Our Trust Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) are staff volunteers who act as a point of contact and offer reassurance to colleagues who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. All have completed an internationally recognised training course.
If you would like to speak to a MHFA in confidence, you will find their details below. If you are comfortable to do so, please contact a MHFA in your Care Group in the first instance. For more information on MHFAs, please contact Bernadette Pritchard, Inclusion and Wellbeing Lead on Ext 3100.
Please be aware that MHFAs can listen and signpost you to sources of help. They cannot give ongoing support or counselling, and are not available outside of their work hours. Should you need confidential out-of-hours support, please contact:
Care First, the Trust's Employee Assistance Programme available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week free on 0800 174 319.
SANELine, a national charity offering emotional support and guidance to anyone affected by mental illness every evening from 4.30pm to 10.30pm on 0300 304 7000.
Samaritans, offering a safe place for you to talk any time you like (24/7), in your own way, about whatever's getting to you on 116 123.
If you require urgent mental health support, call the Connection 24 hour helpline on 0300 123 5440 - open to all ages.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q - What is Mental Health First Aid?
In the same way as people are trained to provide first aid for physical illnesses and injuries, Mental Health First Aid England train Mental Health First Aiders in how to spot the signs of mental health issues and provide first aid support.
Training is the foundation to a healthy workplace. Educating people about mental health helps to open up conversations, breaks down stigma and encourages mental health resilience. It can also ensure people are aware of how to access help, allowing for quicker recoveries and more positive outcomes.
All MHFAiders are trained with skills such as non-judgemental listening and the knowledge and confidence to guide a person to appropriate sources of professional support. Such early intervention can reduce distress, help to preserve life, and empower a person experiencing mental ill health to get support for recovery.
Q - Are the MHFAiders trained mental health professionals?
No (although a trained mental health professional could also train to be a qualified MHFAider).
All MHFAiders have undergone an intensive 2 day training course by an accredited MHFA Instructor who themselves have undergone a rigorous licensed 7 day training program over 6 week accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health. MHFA England training courses and materials are grounded in research, written by clinical experts and those with lived experience of mental health issues.
MHFAiders are taught how to spot the early signs of mental health issues, including warning signs of common mental health crises, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person towards appropriate treatment and other sources of supportive help.
It's important to know they are not taught to be therapists or counsellors or how to diagnose mental health conditions or provide ongoing support.
Q - When can I contact a MHFAider?
Mental Health First Aiders are available during their working hours. When you make contact with a MHFAider, they may not be able to respond immediately to you, however they will arrange to speak to you at a mutually convenient time.
Q - How long can I speak to a MHFAider?
Conversations normally last up to about half an hour but will vary depending on the nature of the call. In line with recommendations by MHFA England, our MHFAiders will be asked to confidentially and anonymously log any MHFA support conversations to see how much support is being used.
Q - Is the conversation with a MHFAider confidential?
Your conversation will be confidential unless you become a danger to yourself or others, in which case confidentiality cannot be maintained to help keep you safe. Your MHFAider will talk to you about what will happen if this is necessary.
Q - What do I do if I want to become a Mental Health First Aider?
If you are interested in finding out more about being a MHFAider, there is information on the MHFA England website about the 2 day First Aider course as well as the half day and full day courses.
MHFA trained instructors work in the HR and Wellbeing teams and will be offering training in later this year.
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