Your First Aid Trainer (Blog Template) (1)

Mental Health Training: Online or Face to Face?

February 8, 2023

Mental Health First Aid training is growing wildly. In Australia alone, there are over 900,000 trainees equipped with the skills needed to respond to a mental health crisis. The further these skills spread, the more workplaces, organisations, and communities are coming to expect these qualities in their employees, leaders, and community members.

All of which makes a Mental Health First Aid certificate a very attractive qualification to hold.

But, if you’re looking for an MHFA course, which one do you pick? What are the benefits of taking a course online versus in person? Here, we’ll dive into the best MHFA course options for you and how to get the most out of your training.

Picking a relevant course.
Mental Health First Aid is geared towards training people to intercept someone experiencing a mental crisis, talk to them, and refer them on to professional support. The key takeaway of these courses is in learning the confidence to approach others and begin a tricky, often confrontational, conversation.

While these skills are transferable anywhere you go, the language and approach you use will very much depend on the situation. For instance, if you’re looking for ways to better support your own circle of family and friends, your main concern is likely around how to begin a conversation with someone you already know well, but with whom you feel an ‘emotional barrier’ when it comes to heavier topics, such as suicide, depression, etc. Speaking to someone in the workplace, on the other hand, invites all sorts of questions about legality, the rights of an employer or co-worker, and how to be respectful of professional, and personal, boundaries.

For this reason, and to help first aiders exercise their skills with examples relevant to their situation, we split our MHFA courses based on who the first aider is meant to be addressing. We offer a standard MHFA course that covers any situation and is perfect for an interested individual looking to join a group session.

MHFA for the workplace gives you the choice of booking out a course for your entire team or selecting members and covers situations more specific to the workplace. Throughout the course, you’ll work through providing support to a co-worker and how you can implement mental health safety in your workplace.

MHFA for the community is for those seeking to support family, friends, neighbours, community groups, or the general public, with a wider approach to problem-solving.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is broken into two courses; standard youth and tertiary students. The aim of these courses is to develop language skills and the confidence to approach younger people, with course examples around common youth-related mental health issues. These courses are designed for anyone who is currently or aims to be working with kids in the future.

Training online or in person.
The majority of our courses are delivered as either online, face-to-face, or blended learning options. This is to help reach as wide an audience as possible, considering everyone’s availability and access to course materials.

We’d highly recommend taking the face-to-face training option if you’re able. Training in person allows you to practice speaking to others, building up your confidence and your ability to confront those experiencing a mental health-related problem. Live training also gives you more time with the instructor to ask questions, practice MHFA techniques and receive valuable feedback on your progress.

Both course options are equally recognised, however, and you can receive a certificate of completion or attendance just as readily from the online course as you can from the live training. If you are looking to book a face-to-face course, we do offer the ability to travel to your location for workplace and group course training. We also hold courses at several different venues across Queensland; you can see our availability by visiting our website.

Gaining accredited certification.
We’ve covered this topic extensively in another blog, but to sum up, in brief, all our courses are typically followed by an examination, which you can undertake to become an accredited certified Mental Health First Aider. Your accredited certification is something you can display as part of your CV, your email signature, your company website, or as part of your internal employee mental health program. The choice is yours.

However, if you’re just taking the course for the sake of your own interest, you can get a certificate of completion instead, to show you have attended. You can also get both qualifications by having attended the course online.

Refreshing your qualification.
Your certification for Mental Health First Aid lasts for three years, after which you’ll need to take a refresher course to keep hold of your current certificate. You can take one of these courses either online or in person. They’re briefer than the original course and, aside from refreshing your memory, help catch you up with new material.

Mental health is a constantly evolving field of research, with organisations such as Mental Health First Aid Australia providing access to the latest developments in the field. As we come to understand mental illness and disorders better, MHFA will continue to evolve to offer the best strategies for approaching others and helping them seek support.

Sources cited:
“Mental Health First Aid in Practice” on Mental Health First Aid Australia. Date Accessed: 24th January, 2023. Site Link:

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