Mental Health Training

What is Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid? By Angela Wall DMS MCIPD MIoEE

Posted by on 29 Feb, 2016 in Mental Health | 0 comments

What is Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid? By Angela Wall DMS MCIPD MIoEE

What is Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid?

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for the Armed Forces Community project is designed to provide the basis for increased mental health resilience amongst veterans and families of both veterans and serving personnel throughout the UK. Armed Force MHFA (AF MHFA) has been launched to help the serving personnel and veterans who may be experiencing mental health issues.

Along with MHFA national training team, the military charities, Combat Stress, SSAFA and the Royal British Legion have been involved with designing the AF MHFA course.  MHFA England is working in partnership with these charities because they interact with the Armed Forces community on so many levels which are relevant to mental health.

AF MHFA will help to identify some of the serving and ex-service personnel who are experiencing mental health issues and who may be falling under the radar.

This national programme aims to train over 6,600 people in the AF community to be Mental Health First Aiders with a national network of Approved Instructors. In 2015 SSAFA commissioned and independent review of the two day programme and the preliminary results shows that the AF programme improves trainees knowledge of mental health; it also enhances their attitude towards mental health issues and increases their confidence in supporting those with mental health issues.

How does it work?

Angela Wall is an independent trainer and consultant who is an Approved Instructor for the Armed Forces MHFA and delivers this course in the North, in North Yorkshire and the North East.

The overall aim of the course is to help de-stigmatise the understanding of Mental Health issues and to promote awareness of help and support available to people in need by training up individuals who then become ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ back in their own environments, communities and workplaces. This national course designed by MHFA England is a tailored and updated version of their standard MHFA course, and it promotes an understanding and definition of the major mental health conditions. It also provides a tool which First Aiders can employ when they encounter future situations requiring support. It does not provide therapy or medical diagnosis but concentrates on signposting of appropriate forms of support, both professional and personal.

What is the Course like?

Groups are typically made up of veterans, serving personnel, volunteers from charities assisting AF personnel and family, friends and relatives connected with the Armed Forces. Feedback is highly positive – the content may be new, or it refreshes but it always increases knowledge and helps to build confidence for those taking part. Everyone values the contribution made by other participants.

The 2 day MHFA Course for the Armed Forces Community will help you to:

_ Increase your understanding of mental health
_ Help you to spot the early signs of a mental health problem
_ Feel more confident helping someone experiencing a problem
_ Guide someone towards the right support
_ Help to reduce the stigma of mental health problems

Angela recently collaborated with Forces TV to talk about her recent course in Catterick. The video has comments from course members, some footage of the course itself and Angela is interviewed about the messages of the AF MHFA Course. You can find the video on Forces TV website – the link is Mental Health Being Tackled in Catterick  or click on Video on and in the search box put ‘Mental Health Catterick’ and it should pop up.

How can I apply?

You may apply for a place if you have an Armed Forces connection, so you may be any of the following : A Veteran, Serving personnel, Family member of Serving or ex-Service personnel, Health and Social Care working with the Armed Forces Community, part of a Charitable organisation working with the Armed Forces Community.

The cost of attending this course will be a maximum of £300 per participant which includes a comprehensive training manual which the participant takes away as a resource for the future. If you are a member of the Armed Forces, you may contact your local Education Centre to apply to use Standard Learning Credits (SLC) to assist with funding your place. Alternatively, contact your employing organization for funding.

Angela is now taking applications for her future courses. It’s easy to apply, just email [email protected] with your name, contact details, your Armed Forces connection and your preferred dates, or contact Mind Matters Training who will be able to pass your details on. Angela will add your name to her waiting list and she will send you further information and answer any queries.

When are the next Courses?

The next Courses will run as follows in the Catterick area of North Yorkshire.:

Monday 4th April (Day 1) & Tuesday 5th April 2016 (Day 2)

Monday 23rd May (Day 1) & Tuesday 24th May 2016 (Day 2)

What did participants think about the course?

Some recent participant comments are :

“Very informative and it taught me to be more sympathetic and empathic with clients”

“Informative sessions brought to life by real experiences. Educational. Eye opening.”

“This is a course that should be offered to as many people as possible.”

“It has made me think about the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of people who are depressed and suicidal. That understanding is essential to be able to deal with these delicate situations.”

“In First Aid, the aim is to save life and prevent further injury. Mental Health First Aid is no different. Respond to situation and put to Professionals.”


More information about Armed Forces MHFA can be found at here

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