Thought Leadership: Mental Health First Aid - How do we ensure our MHFAiders feel supported? Author - Stephanie Anderson | Executive Support & Staff Wellbeing Coordinator at Lancaster City Council

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How do we ensure our MHFAiders feel supported?

You have an amazing group of colleagues who have now received their mental health first aid qualifications, they may even have a nice new lanyard and be proudly posting with their MHFA England manual, proud to say, “I am now a Mental Health First Aider”, but as wellbeing leads, what can we put into place to ensure our MHFAiders feel supported, appreciated, and recognised?

At Lancaster City Council, our network of MHFAiders has grown from two to over thirty colleagues from across all services and levels of our organisation, in quite a short space of time. The spaces and commitments we have created which have supported us, have all been learned from shared experience, and by connections with other organisations and their MHFAiders, and we are so appreciative that we have been on this journey together.

Safe spaces and connection

Bringing your MHFAiders together!

Encouraging regular connection between mental health first aiders ensures that they feel seen and heard in their role, and that they are a vital part of something, they are integral to your organisation’s work on workplace wellbeing.

MHFAiders also need the space to feel safe seeking out support themselves and a network space (be that virtual or physical) is where we can share experiences and where we can ensure we receive the empathy, kindness, and support we may need following our conversations. This may also include sharing and discussing further learning opportunities or seeking out specific support for a colleague to help MHFAiders feel more comfortable and confident in their role.

We want to ensure open communication between our MHFAiders, as by having a space to share their experience, not only do they feel supported in their role, but they can also receive the recognition and appreciation they deserve for connecting others to support.

We recommend a monthly space, where different topics can be brought up, and where you can share wider organisational updates which may support them in their role. Having a wellbeing lead coordinating and creating the connections can be a great way of ensuring they feel supported too.



A Mental Health First Aid Policy for your organisation benefits not only the MHFAiders themselves but also those they support.

By showing you are committed as an organisation to the support they offer, MHFAiders can feel recognised and appreciated in their role. A policy is another way to communicate the responsibilities and boundaries of a role, which can enable the wider organisation to understand the support being provided.

We recommend using space in your organisation’s newsletters, digital screens, and noticeboards to remind colleagues what mental health first aid support is, how it can help, and how you can connect with a MHFAider.

We have found MHFAider bios a great way of building connections too, along with yearly MHFAider check-ins to hear their thoughts and feelings on the way your mental health first aid scheme and support is created and communicated.


Learning together 

It is important to continuously seek out opportunities to learn and grow as MHFAiders. Through our “check-ins” and network spaces, we can identify themes from our conversations and interests in topics, which can help us seek out further learning through connections with local support organisations, or by sharing links to reading material and courses that can support us in our role.

Lunch & learn sessions can be a simple and accessible way of creating a safe space to discuss important topics, and to welcome organisations in so that your MHFAiders feel they have even more connections and support for their conversations within their spaces.


Another way of feeling connected to something bigger and understanding the role MHFAiders have in the organisations wider work on well-being, is by creating something together.

By working together on campaigns and wider well-being initiatives, you not only receive the added value of a variety of colleagues’ experience and expertise, but you also build wider connections through different areas and services, using them as opportunities to share a more holistic approach to wellbeing.

Having your MHFAiders involved in the creation and coordination of awareness day activities can be not only a great resource, but another opportunity to connect and learn from one another.

Self-care and kindness

Regular reminders of support to your MHFAiders should be a regular topic for discussion during your network sessions and communications. Some of the topics you could have as reoccurring themes may include….

  • The MHFAider support app
  • Recent newsletters and updates, such as Mind emails and the MHFA England Newsletter
  • Lancashire Mind learning and support material, for example, Wellness Action Plans.
  • Self-care practices. Encourage sharing thoughts and ideas.
  • Maintaining boundaries – how we need to ensure we feel healthy and grounded before we can provide space for others.
  • Reminders of internal support available, such as employee assistance programmes.

and so much more which your MHFAiders would be pleased to share with you.

We hope this gives you some thoughts to think over.

" Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
Brene Brown."

For more support or advice, please look at our offers to prioritise your staff’s wellbeing:

Workplace Wellbeing & Training

Adult Wellbeing Coaching

Adult Virtual Coaching

For Together workshop You and Your Young Person, Parent Workshops and Understanding Self Injury Together, Parent Workshop

Parent Workshops – Upcoming

If you have found this article useful and would like the opportunity to discuss more topics like this with like minded people, please consider joining our Lancashire Wellbeing Business Network:

Lancashire Wellbeing Business Network

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