Mind Matters has been approached on many occasions by clients wishing to train mental health managers with a specific request for mental health first aid training. This in and of itself is not a problem unless you are looking for a result that MHFA was not specifically designed for. Because of this, it is important for customers, agents, and buyers to understand how mental health training courses differ and which courses are best for your community (workforce or otherwise) and what different needs within them.
Mental Health First Aid Courses are a special group of educational products developed, licensed and intellectually operated by MHFA England. The MHFA England courses are designed to be held in England only. However, there are several other countries that have developed their own MHFA products tailored to their particular needs and services. In this case, MHFA is considered a globally recognized product originating in Australia. MHFA courses are evidence-based and robust and anyone over the age of 16 in England can be trained on these courses. The goal of Adult MHFA and Online MHFA is to build delegates to support the mental health of another adult and to support the delegates’ own mental health. MHFA is designed to provide first aid support, the skills and knowledge needed to intervene at an early stage, and to respond to crisis situations in a similar way to physical first aid. MHFA England and its instructors do not attempt in any way to train delegates to be therapists when offering MHFA courses, similarly as a physical first aid course does not teach people to be clinical professionals e.g. a nurse. This does not mean that a clinically qualified person cannot complete an MHFA course. We have trained counselors and therapists, nurses and other clinical professionals in mental health first aid on many occasions. It just enhances the existing skills, adds a first aid answer, and can confirm any other prior learning they’ve done. MHFA is not only intended for managers or workplaces, but for any type of community in England. It’s no more specific to jobs than the physical first. In addition to the adult MHFA course mentioned above, MHFA England offers a variety of training products tailored to different groups, e.g. Youth and armed forces. If so, you may be able to offer MHFA training to anyone in a workplace or community. Different models can be used to distribute mental health first responders in any given setting, e.g. Ratio and percentage models, e.g. Matching the numbers to those of the physical first responders to ensure parity in a specific environment, department, locality, e.g. Training of development workers or local consultants. There is no right or wrong way to achieve a “whole community (business or otherwise) approach” to mental health. There is only one right way for this community. This is influenced by the needs of the community, resources like time and budget, and many other variables. For many communities, achieving a “whole community” or “whole company” approach to mental health can and is an ongoing work.
When a business customer approaches us to train mental health managers, we strive to understand those managers’ needs. The role of the “manager” in the workplace has changed significantly in the last few decades, and most managers now know that part of their role is employee mental health support, absence management and presentationalism, support for good mental health in the workplace and support includes people suffering from mental distress who meet the needs of various employees and other employees. These tasks no longer remain the sole responsibility of the human resources or health and safety department, but a collaboration of efforts to support health goals in the workplace and to achieve the best in the workforce.
There are many products to choose from in mental health manager education, a variety of licensed, evidence-based, accredited products, and a variety of vendors. They have different merits and selling points with some overlap, and which product is best for them may depend on the specific learning needs of the managers in question. They may need to be more knowledgeable and confident about mental health conversations, raise their awareness of mental health more generally, or understand more about sensible adjustments – what they define as “sensible” and how they can objectively cope with systems and tools that support good mental health and help managers support it. Some managers just want a general understanding of mental health and the opportunity to practice their new learning on fictional case studies in a safe, non-judgmental and supported learning environment. Mind Matters offers its own one-day training for mental health managers and also offers the i-ACT manager training (for positive mental health). We can also work with organizations like Mindful Employer to run their Mindful Manager course. Courses range from half-day to full-day training, and new manager training products are constantly being created to meet workplace needs.
Some of the courses that Mind Matters offers are longer and more intensive in terms of content. An example would be our two-day MHFA courses for adults or teenagers or the online versions with four sessions. Less intensive versions include the teen and adult mental health courses, which last 3 and 4 hours, respectively. The two-day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) course is also more intensive. Not everyone in a community wants to learn at this depth and for many different reasons. For example, a person may not want to volunteer for a specific role such as “mental health first responder,” “mental health champion,” or “life sustaining carer” in their community. Some people may be concerned about mental health issues and may need assistance overcoming personal barriers to accessing mental health courses. Some people just want to dip their toe in the water to see if they find it interesting and valuable enough to learn more. Others may find that there is a growing need in their community to focus on providing support in times of crisis, e.g. B. to meet the needs of a person who is suicidal and really want to understand how to react in these situations. Within this area there are also different types of courses that meet these goals and different support roles that someone might want to take on, e.g. Suicide Alert Helper or Life Support Caregiver. These courses also last between 3 hours and 2 days.
Online versus Face-to-Face: Most of us have seen and been part of a shift from attending face-to-face meetings and training to accessing both online. Depending on the risk assessment and whether they have managed to achieve effective safety practices, some organizations may have a mix of both. As a training company, Mind Matters and its trainers love to be in the classroom with delegates. We appreciate the dynamism of the human connection, the energy in space and the greater ability to move rather than move. Like many others, we have accepted a major change in our way of working and had to adapt and quickly improve our IT skills in line with our current offer. We have adapted well and feedback so far suggests that some delegates prefer personalized attention, but many appreciate how well they can learn and experience online mental health training. We’ve had some great feedback and now we appreciate the flexible delivery approach that didn’t exist before Covid. We are fully aware of the greater need for mental health training and the creation of first aiders to assist those in need right now and it is great that we can continue to do so with the help of modern technology.
If you or your community (workplace or otherwise) want to ensure that you are choosing the most effective courses to meet your mental health learning needs and the needs of your community, please contact Mind Matters for an informal discussion can customize a program that meets this.