A Q&A with our Mental Health First Aiders

by Megan Hook | News | 17 October 2022

We’re proud to have trained Mental Health First Aiders in our business, but ever wonder what they are and what they do in the business? We spoke to our Mental Health First Aiders about what they get up to and got some top tips. Check out what they had to say:

  1. What do you do as Mental Health First Aiders?

A Mental Health First Aider is there to help someone who may be developing mental ill-health, experiencing worsening mental ill-health, or in a mental health crisis. It’s important to note a first aider is not a Mental Health professional and we’re only able to provide the best advice possible in the given situation. We’re trained to spot early signs of mental ill-health and are taught how to listen and respond appropriately.

  1. Why do you think mental health first aid is so important?

Mental Health First Aid is so important because Mental Health is so important. When we’re mentally healthy and actively looking after our well-being, we are more productive, more creative, and live a happier life overall.  The sad statistic, however, is that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental ill health in any given year. We’re trained to spot these people and offer a friendly ear and signpost for support.

When you’re a mental health first aider you’re also much more confident when it comes to dealing with a crisis situation, because you’re equipped with the appropriate tools. If everyone were trained mental health first aiders, we think the world would be a much better place!

  1. How do you personally look after your mental health?

Megan: I try to listen to my body as much as possible to work out what I need – whether that be going for a walk to clear my head, having a chat with a friend, or simply just chilling out and watching the telly. It’s still very much a work in progress but I’m definitely getting there with it. I also like to get crafty at home – it takes my mind off the day and is quite therapeutic. I’ve just started making Christmas presents – excited to see how they turn out!

Danny: Regular exercise, whether walking or running, really helps to reset and clear my head. I find building some time into your week to do something you really enjoy, forgetting everything else, and just enjoying that moment in time. For me, it can be sitting outside a cafe with a nice hot coffee, watching the world go by! Lastly, it’s getting more sleep. I’m trying to learn more about how sleep affects our brain health and have recently heard that a tired brain only picks up on negative experiences. Quite a shocking statement that’s switched my outlook on how much sleep I need!

  1. How do you become a mental health first-aider?

To become a mental health first aider, you have to take a course with a local provider. We trained with West Kent Mind – Danny did a virtual course for 4 afternoons in one week, and Megan did a 2-day in-person training course. It was such a great course, and we met loads of amazing people who all had different reasons for taking the training. You can find details of the courses in your area here;  https://mhfaengland.org/ 

  1. What are your top tips for being a good listener?

Listening is one of the most critical parts of being a mental health first aider. One of the crucial parts of being a good listener is to be completely non-judgemental and not impart your opinion on the person you’re listening to. To do this, you need to let the person talk and not intervene too much – you might be the first person they’ve reached out to so it’s so important to let them get everything off their chest. You should also try to build up some rapport so that they feel they can trust you and open up fully to you. Take a reassuring tone and ask open questions to prompt more information and show you’re listening. It’s also a really great tip to re-play back to the person what they’ve said to you, so the person you’re listening to feels understood. 

If you’re interested in becoming a mental health first aider, head to this website to find out more; https://mhfaengland.org/