How to Choose the Best Mental Health First Aid Training Provider: Tips for Business Owners

How do you know if a mental health first aid training provider is the right fit for your organisation? This article will answer that question and more. We'll cover the basics of what to look out for in a provider, as well as some tips on what makes Talkout one of the best mental health first aid training partners around.
Neil Stone

Why Should Your Organisation Invest in Mental Health First Aid Courses?

1 in 6 of your employees and friends could be suffering from mental ill health right now. Experiencing mental ill health costs people a lot. Someone struggling with a mental health issue may not be able to enjoy their family, feel fulfilled at work, or find peace in their own mind.

The cost of mental health issues to businesses is enormous. Deloitte estimates the cost of mental health absences to be about £6.8bn per year. Employees who choose to be present even though they are struggling with a mental health issue could cost more than £26.6bn in lost productivity.

Mental health first aid courses are a way for your organisation to invest in the mental health of your staff members and colleagues.

Here are some things covered in mental health first aid courses:

  • Understanding the symptoms of a mental health problem
  • The hidden effects of anxiety disorders and eating disorders
  • Help for people suffering from bipolar disorder or self harm.
  • How to spot earlier signs of declining mental health.
  • A MHFA England course raises awareness of mental health across your entire organisation.

More importantly, those who complete MHFA England courses can become a qualified mental health first aider. A mental health first aider can use their growing knowledge and skills to aid mental health and support employees on an ongoing basis. Through their ongoing development and practical skills, they can make a lasting difference for UK employers.

The Basics of MHFA Training and Accreditation

There are three main types of mental health training provider:

Professional, Personal Training Services
The first is those who offer offline, in-person courses and workshops - this could be over a weekend or for an entire week. These can range from very cost-effective to highly expensive depending on the organisation you're working with. Many of these companies offer live online courses because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Online Course Providers
Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as they provide more flexibility but also allow you to track your progress at your own pace without having any time restrictions. There may be some costs involved, such as that incurred if you want access to continuing education credits related to the course material which may not be included in the price tag initially charged by the provider. Sessions are pre-recorded but usually feature a person speaking and presenting information.

Online Training Modules
The last type is online training modules; these usually consist of videos accompanied by quizzes and worksheets. Personal contact is limited or non-existent.

Accreditation and Certification
MHFA England is the body that governs mental health first aid training. They have issued specific guidelines about course content, instructor qualifications, and expected outcomes.

Mental health first aid partners should have:

  • An accredited mental health trainer. MHFA England accreditation is a must, and the provider should be able to provide you with proof that their trainers hold this qualification and a current license to deliver the training. They should also provide you with a range of physical materials from MHFA England.
  • Certified courses so you know what your employees are learning and how they're studying for these programmes. The course content needs to cover risk factors for developing mental illnesses and signs of them in others.

Five Signs of a High-Quality Training Partner for Your Organisation

However, while courses might be similar in name and format, they are not always the same on a practical level. Subtle differences can have a tremendous impact on how engaged your team members feel during the course as well as what they get from MHFA training courses.

Yes, the topics covered, the learning activities, and the takeaway resources are all similar in every two-day MHFA course. However, that's because every trainer brings their own qualities to these aspects of a mental health first aid program.

For instance:

  • Every Trainer expands on his or her own quality with specific subject knowledge within their area which expands on what you learn from other Trainers around the table
  • Every Trainer has unique ways of breaking down hard subjects into bite-sized pieces so they're easier to understand;
  • The trainer must be able to engage the participants in an enthusiastic manner - making the experience enjoyable for everyone.

These make a big difference to the effectiveness of mental health first aid courses. To help you choose an effective partner for your business or organisation, we've got five questions you should ask while you're searching.

Which Style Suits Your Team and Needs?

- Do you have a team of senior managers who are all in the same field and would like to receive mental health first aid training together?

- Are your employees more likely to engage with one-to-one, small group or large group sessions? What size do they work best with?

Your group's dynamics will inform the trainer and provider you choose to help improve your organisation's workplace mental health.

Will the trainer’s experience matter?

Does your organisation need someone with specific skills, knowledge, or experience to relate to your staff and volunteers? Are there pressures or concerns your team faces that only someone from a similar background will be able to assist?

Mental health first aid (MHFA) instructors are often motivated by a range of circumstances:

  • An individual who has experience with mental health conditions and wants to help others.
  • Someone whose work in the Mental Health Sector led them to share their knowledge more widely.
  • A physical first aid instructor who now includes MHFA as an extension of their base qualification set.

Which experience is most relevant and helpful for your group?

What Comes After the MHFA Course?

Some trainers offer the two-day Mental Health First Aid Course, while others can run a variety of courses. The duration and type of course depends on what you want them to teach.

If you're launching a new mental health support programme for your company, then you should consider a partner who offers multiple course options.

Want ongoing support for your Mental Health First Aiders?

Mental Health First Aiders finish their course fired up with ideas and motivation. But many first-time Mental Health First Aiders run into challenges when putting their newfound skills to use on the job. Ongoing support during that initial year can help them to stay motivated by solving any difficulties arising later on in their service as a mental health first aider.

Working with a training provider who can offer this ongoing support helps your investment in the mental health of your organisation really grow.

Three Reasons Why Talkout is Your Best Choice for Mental Health First Aid

Talkout has the experience you need to run a successful mental health first aid programme. They have been delivering training for over years and experts in this field design their courses.

Talkout offers both classroom and online training options so that your organisation can choose what works best for them.

Our courses have been developed in conjunction with clinical psychologists, Mental Health England, NHS England Guidance and are CPD accredited.

Our trainers are experts at helping people understand common mental health problems, learn how to respond to crisis moments in mental health issues, and discover how to raise mental health awareness in their organisation.

If you’re ready to get started, or just want to talk things over with someone who can help, please contact us today.

Join our mailing list

Keep your finger on the pulse with awesome content on community, wellbeing, engagement and learning.

Your email address will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. By clicking subscribe, you consent to allow Talkout Group to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.

Thank you. Your submission has been received.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.