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SMHFA (Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid)

Scotland's Mental Health at Work Training Course

2 Days Course

A ‘Mental Health First Aider’ can offer initial comfort and support in a crisis until help arrives.  After attending, delegates can help to promote a greater understanding of mental ill health and recovery in the workplace and be more confident in their approach to help someone in distress.


The Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid course helps delegates to become more informed about how to respond to a mental health crisis and covers the most common mental health problems.  Participants develop skills in asking appropriate questions; listening without judgement; giving reassurance that recovery is possible and providing information about where help can be found.

Course Outline

The course covers:

  • Guidance on being a Mental Health First Aider; explanation of the ‘first aid response.’
  • Statistics and facts relating to mental ill health in the workplace
  • Attitudes to mental health issues; stigma; equalities; discrimination
  • Factors that influence our wellbeing
  • The mental health continuum – a model which illustrates how our mental health fluctuates according to internal and external factors.
  • Listening and responding skills
  • Explanation and practice of a framework (ALGEE), to help support a person in distress
  • The recovery message – how recovery is not only possible but probable if we all feel able to talk about our mental health and can access appropriate support
  • The impact of alcohol and drugs on mental health
  • Introduction to suicide intervention
  • Explanation of self-harm and PTSD
  • Understanding depression, anxiety and psychosis and how to offer first aid to someone in distress or advice of where to get help.
  • Self-help strategies

The SMHFA course does not train people to be mental health workers. It offers an overview of mental ill health in the workplace and helps to remove stigma and fear.  Delegates practise listening and responding skills which give them confidence to provide initial support to a person in distress in a real-life situation.

Mental Health First Aid is an initial response to distress, in the same way as physical first aid is an initial response to an injury. The support provided by a First Aider is only given until other suitable or professional help can be accessed.

Course Format

The SMHFA course takes 12 hours to complete.  It can be presented in a range of formats to suit different groups.  The course must be presented by a qualified SMHFA instructor and quality is continuously monitored by NHS Health Scotland.

Possible formats:

  • 2 full days
  • 4 half days
  • 6 two-hour sessions

The training will be delivered in a supportive environment and the Trainer will be sensitive to the issues raised throughout the training.

The training will include group discussions, analysis of case studies, video clips and interactive exercises.

All delegates will receive a comprehensive manual containing relevant websites for further information on each topic covered in the course. On completion of the course, delegates will receive a certificate of attendance from NHS Health Scotland.

Reasons to attend SMHFA

  • Respond appropriately in a mental health crisis.  This course helps delegates build confidence to turn knowledge into action.
  • Recognise when a person might need help, i.e. spot the signs of distress
  • Help save a life by learning basic suicide intervention skills
  • Appreciate that anyone can be affected by mental ill-health and understand the factors which influence our wellbeing.
  • Approach a person with confidence and ask the appropriate questions when you notice a deterioration in their mental health.
  • Reassure a person that recovery is possible with the correct support.
  • Share knowledge with others in the workplace about mental ill health and how the ‘first aid approach’ can help people in distress and potentially save a life.

Contact us about this course

Discuss aspects of this course with us

Discuss aspects of this course with us

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this training, please call us on 0131 476 5027 or drop an email to – [email protected]

Contact us about this course

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What people say about In Equilibrium

SMHFA Testimonial

“This training helped me practise asking questions which I previously would have found difficult to ask, such as asking someone if they had suicidal thoughts. I now know how I would go about speaking to someone who is in distress and give them reassurance that someone is listening to them and helping them access the correct support.”

Testimonial for Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid Course

“The interactive exercises were enjoyable and the videos of personal struggles of individuals brought it home to me that anyone can find themselves in a position where their mental health has deteriorated. The training also brought home the message that ‘recovery is possible,’ and there are many self-help websites to explore.  “

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