The Importance of MHFA Training in the Workplace

By Sam Thomas | 8th November 2018 | 15 min read

We all have mental and physical health, but why do we only look out for physical health at work? Donna Griffiths, Director of HR and Employee Wellbeing at Westfield Health, explains what Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) training is, and how it can benefit employers and employees.

What is MHFA training?

MHFA training is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid. The training is an internationally recognised and accredited two-day course developed by Mental Health First Aid England.

It is just one of a range of initiatives businesses can implement to help support employees with mental health issues in the workplace. Similar to having a dedicated ‘first aider’ in the office who looks after the physical health of employees, the training looks to raise awareness of mental health and reduce stigma by having an employee who is a dedicated ‘mental health first aider’.

Why have MHFA at work?

Our research shows that 86% of UK employees believe their organisations are not doing enough to help them deal with work-related mental health issues. Mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK and 12.5 million working days are lost each year due to mental health issues.

It’s in business’s interest to have a mental health first aider, as people might not always feel comfortable talking to their manager about their mental health. Having support at work means that they can stop a mental health issue from getting worse and aid a faster recovery.

Training people in mental health awareness and skills to deal with mental health issues at work helps to build an open and supportive culture around mental health. We’ve trained over a dozen of our own employees in MHFA because we recognise how important good mental health is.

How does it work?

The two-day course is internationally recognised and has been developed by the Department of Health and Mental Health First Aid England. It’s designed to raise the awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, giving people the skills, knowledge and confidence to spot the early signs of a mental health issue, prevent someone from hurting themselves or others, stop a mental health issue from getting worse and guide someone towards the right support.

 The vision is that eventually all organisations will employ at least a basic level of knowledge of MHFA training across the board and establish a culture that no longer stigmatises mental health in the workplace.

We’re running MHFA training at our head office in Sheffield until February 2019. To book your space, call on 03332 223 060 or email

For more information about MHFA training and how Westfield Health can support business’ health and wellbeing, call 03331 227343 or visit

About Westfield Health

Westfield Health is an award winning not-for-profit health and wellbeing provider, committed to improving people’s quality of life by inspiring them to make healthier choices at work and at home.

Working with 400,000 customers and more than 8,000 companies, Westfield Health has been supporting the nation to live happy, healthy, independent lives since 1919.

It has donated over £14.5m to the NHS and medically related charities over the last 20 years, supporting the health and wellbeing of communities across the UK.

Westfield Health believes in well beings, and that when you begin to truly believe in the physical and emotional wellbeing of your staff it can completely transform the face of your business, improving productivity, helping you retain staff and making you a desirable place for prospective employees to work.