How to get certified in Mental Health First Aid

How to get certified in Mental Health First Aid

October 16, 2022

If you want to get certified in Mental Health First Aid, you’ve come to the right blog article! 

Obtaining an MHFA qualification is easy, requiring a two-day course, for the most part, followed by a brief examination. The reason it’s so simple is that MHFA, as a practice, is about training as many people as possible to be first aid responders. 


Doctors, teachers and general managers

Training in MHFA doesn’t require a specific background or degree. It’s just like any other first aid course you might undertake, such as CPR or medical first aid training. The skills taught in the course are the basic skills you need to keep someone safe before a fully qualified professional can arrive. So don’t worry; you won’t have to psychoanalyse anyone to uncover a childhood trauma! 

However, like any other emergency, Mental Health First Aiders should be prepared to deal with events as they unfold. By approaching someone and asking for help, you might get a flood of information in return, or maybe a very aggressive cold shoulder.

That’s ok — MHFA is about training your essential services; eyes, ears, mouth and hands.


The MFHA toolkit

Your eyes are what will pick up on most signs of mental distress. They notice the visual cues and tell-tale signs. They’re also great for communicating with others, gaining trust and holding someone’s attention.

The ears pick up sounds of distress and anxiety in the pitch and language used by others. Of course, their advantage over the eyes is that they’re great recorders of conversations. They allow us to take note of someone’s speech, which can be passed on to a professional later (if the person in question wants to have you speak on their behalf).

We need the mouth to begin conversations, ask hard questions and advise others on what to do. While sometimes the ear is the most important, when someone just needs to get a problem off their chest before they explode, the mouth is your most direct tool. It comforts others, tells them what they need to hear and offers ways to solve their problems going forward. 

We’re all familiar with this hand gesture. It can mean one of two things; ‘hello there’ or ‘back off’. Sometimes our attempts to help others provoke anger or irritation. In those situations, it’s important to know when to move away and protect ourselves, as well as the person experiencing mental distress. We can still help them by referring them to a licenced professional. 

Now you’re more familiar with your tools, it’s time to talk about how to use them.


What does my MHFA training actually cover?

As we said at the beginning, MHFA training is typically a two-day course split into four modules. 

The standard course begins by introducing mental health problems and specific disorders like depression and suicide. An action plan is presented, which covers how to approach people and refer them to professional help.

Topics like suicide are explored separately because they’re more complex and require a different, more immediate reaction. 

The next two topics go further into crisis situations and severe psychotic states, helping you identify the issues through videos, conversations and practice scenarios.

The actual course delivery and training provided will depend on what you select. The courses we run at ‘Your’ First Aid Training Provider cover standard mental health practices, mental health in the workplace and youth-based mental health issues. Your training will end with an exam and MHFA certificate, enabling you to practice as a recognised Mental Health First Aid responder for three years before renewing your qualification.

To get the certificate, course participants have to complete the online exam, which is held at the end of the course. However, if you just want to learn the skills involved in MHFA without taking the exam, you can still get a certificate of course completion to show at work or home.


Learning remotely

Of course, since the events of 2020, online learning has skyrocketed. Not only is it convenient for anyone with limited time and who isn’t near a training facility, but it’s also helped many people gain essential skills while the world continues to adjust to new ways of working.

MFHA is set up for remote learning, with face-to-face, blended and online classes, making it as widely available as possible. However, nothing quite beats face-to-face course learning. At ‘Your’ First Aid Trainer, we can offer training delivered to you across Queenstown, flying our instructors in to teach classes on your premise. 


Gaining your certificate

Getting hold of a certificate is as easy as booking a class — the rest is in the doing. If you’d like to book a Mental Health First Aid Training course for yourself, your workplace, class, community, or another group of important people in your life, you can do so here. We’ve got a variety of courses designed to help you help others, depending on your interests.

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