5 Things You May Not Know About Mental Health First Aid Training
I became a facilitator for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid training program in 2012 – shortly after taking the course myself as a participant and being totally blown away with its thought-provoking content and practical nature. My company Arpeggio Health Services has grown into eastern Canada’s largest public provider of mental health education programs and although the pandemic has thrown us some curveballs with respect to program delivery we’re still going strong! Let’s take a look at a few interesting tidbits about the MHFA training program.
1. Participants earn a nationally recognized certificate
Mental Health First Aid is a standardized, evidence based program carrying a formal certification much like physical first aid/CPR training. It’s a great asset to your C.V., indicating to an employer (or potential employer) that you’re equipped to handle situations where someone in the workplace is struggling with their mental health or in crisis.
2. You can now do it virtually
In November 2020 the fully virtual adaptation of MHFA was released and it’s fantastic! Participants first complete a self paced module on their own which takes about two hours and provides valuable context. This is followed by six hours of virtual classroom time led by a real-time instructor. Sessions are capped at just 15 participants to keep the learning environment comfortable and allow for lots of interaction, including small group work and hands-on activities.
3. It’s a core component of Canada’s best practice guidelines
The CSA National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace cites Mental Health First Aid specifically as the recommended training program to support a mentally healthy work environment. MHFA is also classified as a best practice on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Best Practices Portal. Having employees trained in MHFA just like an organization has team members training in physical first aid is becoming increasingly common. The program is owned and regulated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, so participants can rest assured they’re getting credible information.
4. Its effectiveness has been proven
Research shows MHFA is a high impact program with outcomes such as improved confidence in one’s ability to provide effective help, reduced isolation for those living with mental health problems and improved mental wellbeing for course participants. A strong evidence base has measured these outcomes in a variety of settings, including workplaces, communities both urban and rural, post-secondary educational institutions and more. Check out the research HERE.
5. It’s meant for anyone and everyone
One point I reiterate to all of my training groups is that you do not have to be a mental health professional to have a real impact on a person’s journey to recovery from a mental health problem, or even to save someone’s life. Part of why I’m so passionate about the Mental Health First Aid program is that it’s designed for the “average Joe” – someone with little or no knowledge about mental health can take this course and walk away with brand new insights, empathy and understanding and ready-to-use strategies to help someone who needs it.
This afternoon I’ll be delivering my 230th(!) Mental Health First Aid course. Even after so many I still take away incredible valuable ideas from every session, thanks to the rich discussion and thought provoking insights participants share. If you’re interested in taking MHFA training visit our sister company Arpeggio Health Services’ website HERE. We also offer private trainings if your organization wants to train its team together (drop us a line HERE to set this up). I hope to see you soon in the virtual classroom!
Stay safe everyone, and enjoy the rest of the week. See you next time!
Elizabeth Eldridge is a Psychological Health & Safety Consultant based in southern New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to frequent keynote speaking and corporate training on mental health she is the owner/operator of Arpeggio Health Services, Atlantic Canada’s largest provider of public mental health trainings. Learn more at elizabetheldridge.com, summitcorporatewellness.com and arpeggiohealthservices.com.