• Home
  • News
  • What is Mental Health First Aid? – Guest Blog by Clare Davis, Director of Nova Associates
You Are Here:

What is Mental Health First Aid? – Guest Blog by Clare Davis, Director of Nova Associates

Posted on | Posted in News

What do you think Mental Health first Aid is? When I tell people I am a Mental Health first Aid instructor, I often get asked, “Are you a counsellor” or “Are you a psychologist?”

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is not about fixing people. It is not about being a therapist. Regular (physical) First Aid courses teach you the initial help to give an injured person before professional help can be obtained. Its four aims are:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent further harm
  • Promote recover
  • Provide comfort

If you were a physical first aider, and someone broke their leg, you would not take the X- Ray and put the plaster cast on the leg. You would simply sign post the person to a hospital to get the professional help.

Similarly, MHFA is the help given to someone experiencing a mental health issue before professional help is received. This may be a crisis situation or when a person is developing a mental health issue. MHFA may be the very first early intervention. The MHFA course aims to demystify the whole topic of mental health, mental health issues and mental illness, to increase mental health literacy and decrease the stigma.

As Mental Health First Aiders, we are not here to FIX people. Our aim is to spot the signs, have the conversations and signpost. We are here to support. So often companies do not recognise the need to have conversations. Early intervention is important for the road to recovery. The workplace is where we spend so much of our time. If we can spot the signs and support people, they will be on a quicker road to recovery with early intervention.

This week I ran a 2-day Mental Health First Aid Course to a male dominated company. The men I was training all had teams who work in isolation, some not seeing people for days on end. They said it was very difficult to open up conversations, with many of their team members covering up their emotions with humour and ‘taking the mickey’ out of one another. During the 2 days, their consensus was that most of their teams were struggling. Most were working long hours, drinking too much, not sleeping enough and ‘burning the candle at both ends’ to cope with the everyday pressures. We went through a strategy on how to have conversations, how to support their teams and how to use preventative measures to help their teams with their emotional fitness.

My aim is to open up conversations and intervene early to help people on the road to recovery.  I do this by running Mental Health training in companies. The courses range from Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Awareness, Having Mental Health Conversations Confidently, Positive Emotional Fitness – Using Preventative Measures in the Workplace.

I also have a YouTube and Podcast called Mental Health Chats. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, or follow my podcast There are different series with guests from all over the world. The topics range from Men’s Mental Health to Suicide to Teens and Young People. Let’s open up conversations and help those in need.

I am also excited to announce the launch of my Positive Mental Health Book, “Emotional Fitness: A-Z for Positive Mental Health.” The self-help book will be launched on 12th October 2020. To order now, email me on

Latest Posts
09 Nov 2021

Do I want a new job or is it time to negotiate?

The pandemic gave people the chance to take stock of their working lives and evaluate new priorities such as remote working, flexible or part time hours and mental health. ‘The Great Resignation’ has seen employees worldwide leave unsatisfying working conditions, with some having a total change of direction of their career path.  A lack of[…..]

Latest Posts
17 Oct 2021

Opening minds and opening doors: the benefits of outplacement service after furlough

The UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention scheme ended on 30 September 2021 and organisations across the country will be deciding which roles are now redundant. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) predicts that 150,000 employees will be affected the end of the furlough scheme. The employees could benefit from support like outplacement[…..]

Latest Posts
23 Sep 2021

Investing in candidates in the long term: A success story

Anthony has been on the books of Wote Street People, a recruitment agency in Basingstoke, for over 12 years. We’ve placed him in temporary jobs, permanent jobs, and he’s found jobs himself…but he always comes back to us. By telling his story, we hope other candidates will be able to see how much we invest[…..]

Latest Posts
27 Aug 2021

It’s people not technology, that makes our world go round – do your bit and get referring

As mentioned in our previous blog, there is currently a widespread candidate shortage and we need your help to match the right people to the right jobs. What has a candidate shortage got to do with me? Worker shortages will affect everyone at a personal, local and national level. The pandemic and people self-isolating proved[…..]

Latest Posts
26 Aug 2021

Facing redundancy? The path ahead is paved with transferable skills

Why did the chicken cross the road? There wasn’t a lorry driver available to give it a lift. You’ve probably heard the news reports of a partial closure of the restaurant chain Nando’s and fewer dishes on the menu at KFC. Turkey might be off the menu for some this Christmas too because of a[…..]