Mental Health First Aid

First aid as we know it is the help given to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) differs only in that it is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

The aims of MHFA are to:

Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others

Provide help to prevent the mental health problem becoming more serious

Promote the recovery of good mental health

Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem

MHFA teaches participants:

How to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems

How to provide initial help

How to go about guiding a person towards appropriate professional help


Mental health problems are common – the most common of these is depression which will affect 1 in 4 people in the course of their life

There is stigma around mental health problems and this can prevent people seeking help

People generally don't know how to recognise mental health problems or what help is available

People with mental health problems may be unable to think clearly and may not realise they need help or that effective help is available. They may be in some distress and would benefit from the support of an individual with the awareness and confidence to respond calmly

Professional help is not always immediately available

In a mental health crisis situation, the helper's actions may determine how quickly the person gets appropriate professional help

Course Content

Introduction of first action plan to help with the following:

What is meant by mental health / mental ill health?

Dealing with crisis situations such as suicidal behaviour, self-harm, panic attacks and acute psychotic behaviour

Recognising the signs and symptoms of common mental health problems including depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and substance use disorders

Where and how to get help

Self-help strategies

Who can attend?

This is open to the general public and carers including professional groups such as health workers, teachers, front line public sector and voluntary sector workers as well as members of the general public. Any interested person can attend

Course Format and Duration


12 hours


Face-to-face delivery consists of 2 x 6-hour sessions

Online delivery via Zoom consists of 3 x 4-hour or 4 x 3-hour sessions

AWARE is the depression charity for Northern Ireland and the only charity working exclusively for those with depression and bipolar disorder.

Aware Defeat Depression, known as AWARE, Queen Street, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT48 7EQ, Company No: NI30447. Registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland with charity registration number NIC100561


Tel: 028 9035 7820

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Tel: 028 7126 0602

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