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Training the trainers - Mental Health First Aid


Public Health Agency

Type: News
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

The Public Health Agency (PHA) welcomes 30 newly qualified Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainers within the community, voluntary and statutory sectors. These additional trainers can now train others in MHFA, to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems, provide initial help, and to guide a person towards appropriate professional support.In Northern Ireland at least one in five people experience mental health problems and the stigma that still surrounds this can prevent people seeking help. Making MHFA training available in local communities and within local organisations is very important. Similar to physical 'First Aid', a person trained in MHFA can help someone who may be developing a mental health problem, or who is in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves.While presenting the certificates, Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA, said: "Since its inception in 2009, the PHA has been involved in supporting the ongoing development and roll out of Mental Health First Aid training. This training is important as some people with mental health difficulties may be unable to think clearly, may not realise they need assistance or that effective help is available."We know that in a mental health crisis situation, the helper's actions can affect how quickly the person gets appropriate professional help, which in turn can influence their long-term mental and emotional wellbeing. It is therefore vital that the helper is trained to be as effective as possible in this area, particularly as professional help may not always be immediately available."I am delighted that we are able to increase the number of trainers and therefore the numbers of people trained, from all walks of life, who are likely to come into contact with vulnerable people. With MHFA training, they can provide that vital, first intervention that will make a positive and immediate difference to those in distress."The aims of MHFA are to:preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or othersprovide help to prevent the mental health problem becoming more seriouspromote the recovery of good mental healthprovide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problemThe 30 newly qualified MHFA instructors successfully completed the five day 'Training for Trainers' programme, 12 at the Prison Service College, Millisle (27 Feb - 2 March) and 18 at Antrim Civic Centre (5 - 9 March); course participants came from Northern Ireland's statutory, community and voluntary sectors. For further information on MHFA training, contact Helen Gibson, Tel: (028) 3741 4606, Email:



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Public Health Agency. (2012) Training the trainers - Mental Health First Aid [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 22nd March 2018].


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