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What is mental health?

The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines mental health as:

“…a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

“The positive dimension of mental health is stressed as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO:

What is first aid?

The common definition is the help that can be given to someone who is injured before any other essential medical treatment is available. The common aims of first aid programs are to preserve life, to prevent injury or illness from getting worse, to promote healing and recovery and to give comfort to the injured or ill individual.

What is a mental health first aid certificate?

If we first look at the two definitions and put them together, we see that certification programs should be designed to provide a certificate to someone who will then know how to preserve life if someone is at risk of being a danger to themselves or to others; to try and help prevent a person’s mental wellbeing from becoming worse; to promote good mental wellbeing and the recovery process; to provide comfort to the person with a mental illness problem. In addition, we should also look to raise awareness of psychological disorders and issues, especially in the community, and also to challenge stigma and discrimination about these issues at the same time.

What is a mhfa certification

This is a program certificate that is recognized and delivered in more than 20 countries world-wide with certification initially developed and appearing in Australia in the year 2000.

MHFA certification in UK

In order to deliver MH first aid practitioners must initially get certifications in both the MH first aid and the first aid Lite programs. Once qualified and armed with their certifications, Practitioners can then deliver both workshops and award a certifcate to those who attend them. In order to get certifications to deliver the programs, in the UK it is necessary to attend the practitioner programs and after certification, deliver a set number of the MH first aid trainings, working in tandem with another practitioner who also holds MHFA certifications.

Mental health first aid (MHFA) certificate – 2 day course

MHFA is an intensive certification workshop that will provide an overview of common mental illness problems, causes, symptoms and treatments. It is perfect for those wanting to know more about psychological disorders and how it affects others. This internationally recognized program has certification by the Department of Health in the UK. This training is for anyone who may come into contact with a person who has a psychological difficulty, including stress, either in their workplace or life outside of work.

MH first aid Lite  certificate- 1 day course

This program is a lite version of the 2-day workshop and attendees are also awarded a certificate to confirm their learning outcomes, in attending the course. The MH first aid lite certificate aims to give participants a wider understanding of themselves and others and some of the issues around mental health, Participants will learn to work more effectively with people living with psychological illness problems. The difference between the two certifications is that this one is less intensive than the 2-day program and offers a taster in terms of the contents of the main mental health first aid course.

MHFA certifications

Lite: at the end of this training, attendees will be able to identify discrimination and stigma around mental well-being issues; be able to define mental health and some of the problems and illnesses; be able to relate to other people’s experiences and so learn how to support them. Just as importantly, and is true for both certifications, attendees will be able to understand and look after their own mental health.

Full: in addition to the above, the full certification award teaches people to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems and to provide initial help and support; and to guide (signpost) a person towards more appropriate professional help.

MH first aid role play video

The Stand-Up Kid – Depression and Stigma

A very powerful video that is frequently used in the UK to get across the message of depression and stigma can be found in this video, whose target audience is young people, but, just as easily can be used when delivering training to adults and all those wanting to learn more about stigma in the classroom: