Become a mental health first aid instructor in the UK


Mental Health First Aiders are in high demand in the UK as workplaces, schools, and the care sectors increasingly recognise the importance of investing in mental wellbeing. After all, stress in our very busy modern world is a major negative force in our lives, (one study found that 74% of Brits felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, 32% experienced suicidal feelings, and 16% had self-harmed within a 12-month period).

With this great need to have on-hand support for mental health distress nationwide, there has never been a better time to pick up the baton to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor – a role that enables for a propagation of people that properly equipped to provide a ‘first response’ to family, friends, peers, co-workers, and neighbours in their communities.

Why Become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor?

Motivations for becoming a Mental Health First Aid Instructor can vary depending on personal experience; it could be that we have experienced a lack of support for mental wellbeing at work, or we may have witnessed someone struggling with their mental health and have not been able to offer the initial support they needed.

Whatever the reasons for becoming an instructor, it is a very worthwhile role to undertake as it benefits not only the individuals that are essentially end-users in need of mental health first aid but also their workplaces and support networks. For example, did you know that UK businesses could cumulatively save £8 billion a year by implementing better provision for mental wellbeing in the workplace?

Also, suicide is the leading cause of death in the UK for men aged 20-49. There are a few theories as to the reasons behind this but the leading assumptions suggest that men are less likely to actively seek help for their mental health and therefore do not receive the support they need. Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health deterioration and can reach out before it’s too late – every Mental Health First Aider trained has the ability to make a difference.

Getting Qualified

It doesn’t matter if you’re wanting a career change or just enhance your existing training provision, reading this article represents the first step of becoming a Mental Health First Aid Instructor (what you do from here is down to you!)

There are many Mental Health First Aid courses out there but not so many that specialise in training up Instructors, so when doing your research, we recommend you look out for the following in an Instructor course:

  • Is the course entirely online or does it require you to go to a physical location, or perhaps a blend of both? If the course is online, is it classroom-based or e-learning?
  • Are they regulated? Regulated courses are more likely to be of a higher quality as they are subject to industry-specific scrutiny.
  • Does the course cost represent the full price? Keep an eye out for hidden costs that may not be immediately obvious (e.g. assessment and certification costs).
  • What is included? Are the workbooks and other training materials complimentary or is there an additional cost?
  • Who is delivering the training? The more information that is provided about the trainers delivering the Mental Health First Aid Instructor course the better as you can verify how qualified they are to be training you.

Once you’ve picked a course that meets your needs, you will likely be required to submit your details and secure your place with course payment and a commitment to a set of dates that your course will take place on. Also, you need to ensure that you meet eligibility requirements for your chosen course so please check these before submitting a full application.

Qualsafe Academy delivers a fully-online Mental Health First Aid Instructor course that is regulated with no hidden costs, complimentary workbooks and certification and is delivered in a virtual classroom environment by highly qualified mental health professionals. Want to learn more? Visit the course page here.

From here, you may be provided with preparatory documents or communications (make sure you save these somewhere readily available for quick access) to give you some further insight on course structure.

When your course begins, as with all courses, you get out of them what you put in so come prepared with pen and paper, an inquisitive mind and a willingness to participate in all activities! This way, when it comes to assessment you will be saturated with all that you have taken in over the learning period.

Methods of assessment delivery will differ from organisation to organisation so make sure you talk to your trainer or customer service representative about any or all questions and anxieties you may have. Hopefully, you’ll pass your course with flying colours and upon receipt of your certificate, you will be qualified to train learners of your own to become Mental Health First Aiders.

How to deliver mental health first aid?

Once you’re qualified, to deliver certifications, you will usually be required to sign up with an Awarding Body that have designed the Mental Health First Aid course you intend to teach (ideally this will be one that complements your Instructor qualification).

You can do this as a freelancer or as part of a training organisation but in both cases, you need to have an Internal Quality Assurer and a qualified Assessor employed to verify and support course delivery in the former and assess learner examinations in the latter (although you can upskill to be an assessor and carry out this role simultaneously alongside course instructing).

As an Awarding Body ‘centre’ you may be subject to requirements such as a minimum number of course registrations purchased within a fixed time period – make sure you read the terms and conditions when signing up, and discuss any concerns or questions you might have with them beforehand!

What’s next?

Once you’re fully ready to deliver Mental Health First Aid, this is not necessarily the end of your learning journey and if you choose, you can continue to develop your learning with a CPD qualification, for example in IQA and Assessing. The world is your oyster!

Learning to deliver Mental Health First Aid is much more than just a course about managing stress and supporting those affected by it, but an incredibly versatile programme that provides its learners with life-long transferable skills that are as important in personal roles as well as professional ones.

Are you ready to take that next step and learn how to incorporate Mental Health First Aid Instructing as part of your life? Visit the Qualsafe Academy course page here.