The chance to join the government young people's mental health green paper, a look back at our #10YearsofMHFA event and World Mental Health Day 2017.
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Mental Health First Aid Newsletter

December 2017

Welcome to your Mental Health First Aid England newsletter for December. As the year draws to a close, we’re excited to reflect on our achievements from the past two months. In October, we marked World Mental Health Day, releasing our Workplace Wellbeing Toolkit, and in November we celebrated ten years of Mental Health First Aid training in England. We’ve also released an exciting new range of films where we spoke to Mental Health First Aiders about the impact of mental health support in workplaces and universities. Thank you to all of you who supported both of these initiatives.

Please note, we will be closing our office between 21st December and 1st January inclusive as part of our approach to staff wellbeing. We hope that you enjoy the festive season, and the start of the new year, and that you are able to enjoy a restful break at some point in the coming two months.

Celebrating ten years of Mental Health First Aid in England

We would like to say thank you to the 500+ people who joined our event on Wednesday 15th November, coming together to celebrate #10YearsOfMHFA. It was incredible to see so many of our amazing MHFA instructors and Mental Health First Aiders celebrating 10 years of Mental Health First Aid training in England. We met new members of the community, caught up with familiar faces, and had so many great conversations.

We started the day with our wellbeing exhibition, featuring stands from a range of national and regional mental health organisations. We had our own MHFA England stand with photos of our community over the last ten years, and of course our cake took pride of place!

Our CEO Poppy Jaman gave an inspiring welcome address, looking back at the last ten years, and ahead to our goals for the next ten. We were so pleased to be joined for the day by ITV news presenter Sameena Ali-Khan who hosted the event. It was truly inspiring to watch Sameena interviewing award-winning mental health campaigners Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, who shared their moving story of how simply asking a stranger: “Are you alright mate?” saved a life, started an inspiring friendship and sparked their ground-breaking work in raising mental health literacy and advocating for suicide prevention.
Thank you to everyone who attended the event, we’ve received some wonderful feedback:
  • "What a wonderful day yesterday. I felt it got the balance just right in terms of location, duration, content and atmosphere. Your address was excellent Poppy. Particularly good was the warm welcome, helpfulness and “vibe” from all the wider MHFA team in the white t-shirts who just demonstrated exactly what we are about. I thought they were just great." 
  • "I feel the need to say how much I appreciate having caught up with you all yesterday. I had no specific expectations of the day (such days can be variable in my experience) however this one was worthwhile for me."
  • "Please extend my thanks to everyone involved in organising the 10th Anniversary Conference yesterday at the NCC. It was a memorable occasion and I really enjoyed and appreciated it. The speakers and workshops were great and the venue and food and service, and the stewards' help and guidance were fantastic (the cake was lovely as well)."
If you attended the day and would like to offer your feedback, you can fill in our feedback survey online here.

You can view all the photos from the event online here.

A big thank you to everyone who attended - and to those who couldn't attend but showed their support on social media. Here's to another decade of MHFA and training one in ten of the population!

Government launches consultation on children’s mental health – Have your say

This week, the Department of Health has announced a consultation period for their upcoming Green Paper around children and young people’s mental health. Today an overview of the proposed measures were announced, signalling a significant shift in mental health support for young people, with over £300 million of funding being made available. The recommendations released ahead of the consultation include introducing training for senior designated mental health leads in schools to improve prevention work, earlier access to services through the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams working in, and directly with, schools, and a new four week waiting time period for accessing specialist mental health services. We welcome these proposals, and the government’s call for submissions on the subject, and will now be taking part in the consultation to provide MHFA England’s perspective.

For anyone working in this area who would like to get involved, contributions to this consultation can be made here.

Further information on the Green Paper can be found on the Department of Health website.

World Mental Health Day 2017: Mental health at work

On 10th October 2017, we marked the 25th annual World Mental Health Day. This year, it was all about mental health at work and it couldn't come a moment soon. Mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society. Employers are increasingly recognising mental health as a vital part of a healthy, productive working environment.

To celebrate the theme we encouraged organisations to take a look at their wellbeing strategy and take steps to improve the mental health of their workplace. To guide them through this process, we put together a Workplace Wellbeing strategic toolkit. The toolkit included a step by step guide to improving mental health in the workplace, a key to measuring the impact of your wellbeing strategy and an adaptable slide deck for making the business case for mental health support. Filled with tips, links and downloadable resources, the toolkit is designed to help guide businesses through creating a whole organisation approach to mental health. You can access the toolkit through the World Mental Health Day 2017 section of the website.
We also spoke to businesses directly about how Mental Health First Aid training is helping them to create a whole organisation approach to mental health for our new film: Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace. Alongside our overview film, we released case study films with construction company Bowmer and Kirkland, technology firm Siemens and medical research charity Wellcome Trust. Each film includes lived experience and testimonies from Mental Health First Aiders at every level of the organisation. If you haven’t seen the films yet, do head over to our YouTube channel to watch them now!

Help improve the MHFA England website

It is six months since we launched the new MHFA England website and we have been overwhelmed by the positive response. This is partly due to members of our community who got involved with developing the site and took part in initial user testing. But we know that there are still things that could be improved. We will be conducting a review of the website and we would love to gain your feedback and identify these areas for improvement. 
We would particularly welcome users who have accessibility needs, as it is crucial for us to ensure our website and digital services are accessible to all.

User testing sessions will take place in January 2018 and may involve travel to our office in Old Street, London. Travel costs would be reimbursed. If you would like to take part in user testing and help shape our website to work better for you, please email to register your interest.

Seven days that could change your life

Do you feel passionate about making a lasting change in young people’s mental health support? Just seven days could change your life. People from all walks of life train to become Youth MHFA instructors but they all have one thing in common: a desire to improve the mental health of young people. Whether you want to deliver MHFA courses in your spare time, as part of your own training business, or in your school or college, by becoming an MHFA instructor you can earn an income while helping to build a healthier, stigma-free society.

"Training as an MHFA instructor has opened up so many doors for me. It's so rewarding to know I am teaching people the vital skills to support others and it has helped me to look after my own wellbeing more too."

We have limited spaces remaining to join our in-demand Youth MHFA Instructor Training courses in January and early February. Find out more and apply on our website.

Exclusive discount at Department Store for the Mind

We've partnered with Department Store for the Mind to bring you an exclusive discount on their beautiful, thought-provoking products - in time for your Christmas shopping! 

Dept Store for the Mind designs beautiful stationery, crockery, illustrations and gifts, all with emotional health and human connection in mind. A lovely way to buy someone a beautiful gift, whilst spreading awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

To access your 20% discount, enter the code "MHFAEfriend" at the checkout.

Social media update

We’re pleased to confirm that, alongside reaching over 11K Twitter followers, we’ve now been verified! It’s a great achievement, and we couldn’t have done it without your support. We’ve also now reached over 10K Facebook likes and 5K LinkedIn followers – thank you to everyone who’s supported us on these channels!

We’re also excited to confirm that we’re now actively updating our Instagram account, which was created to coincide with our #10YearsOfMHFA event. If you haven’t already followed our Instagram, please do – we’re regularly updating the page with photos and videos from around the organisation.

New Higher Education film released

To coincide with the launch of our new Higher Education course, we’re pleased to announce that we have released our new promotional film: Mental Health in Higher Education. We spoke to Mental Health First Aiders and recent graduates about the impact MHFA training can have in a University setting. Recent graduates Jennifer and Thomas shared their experiences of mental ill health at university, and Mental Health First Aider Ram talks about using her skills to support students and colleagues.

Watch the moving film on our YouTube channel now.

Mental Health First Aid instructor completes mental health “trainathon”

MHFA instructor Alison Garbutt recently completed her “trainathon”, training over 100 people in Mental Health First Aid skills over three days to raise money for Mind as part of the 225th anniversary celebrations at WHSmiths.

As part of the “trainathon”, Alison delivered six sessions in three days, training over 100 people in total. She has now raised over £2,000 for Mind. Congratulations to Alison for this amazing achievement!

If you’d like to donate to Alison’s fundraiser, you can here.


Government publishes responses to health, work and disability consultation and Thriving at Work Report

Last week the government published its report, ‘Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability’, setting out its strategy to address disability employment inequalityThis follows a consultation on a Green Paper conducted with employers, people with disabilities and third sector organisations, including our organisation.

To support the consultation, MHFA England gave guidance on the role mental health training in the workplace has in embedding good practice and supportive cultures and in helping people to stay in and thrive through employment. ​

Find out more.

Government aims to train one million in Mental Health First Aid

From autumn 2018, the Department of Health (DH) and Public Health England (PHE) are launching a campaign to train one million people in Mental Health First Aid skills. The campaign aims to give people basic skills and confidence to support their own mental health and that of the people around them. PHE is working closely with MHFA England and other mental health organisations to build on the knowledge and experience of the sector

For more information about the campaign please see the FAQs. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us on  


Unite Students launch Everyone In report

Unite Students recently launched the ‘Everyone In report, as part of its 2017 Insight Series. The report is based on survey data collected from 6,578 students at universities across the UK. The survey itself has been running since 2013 and seeks to track and analyse the non-academic student experience.

The data showed that on average around half of those with a mental health issue surveyed did not feel confident in seeking support from university counselling and wellbeing services, the NHS, mental health charities or peer-support groups.​

Read more.

MHFA England awarded accreditation as part of the London Healthy Workplace Charter

London organisations and businesses, including our organisation, have been recognised for their dedication to their employees by the London Healthy Workplace Charter, a Mayor of London backed programme that enables businesses to show that their employees’ health and wellbeing really matters to them.

The award acknowledges that employers are increasingly recognising the link between healthy, happy employees and a more productive workforce.

Read more.


Natasha Devon partners with MHFA England and others to launch Mental Health Media Charter

Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor, Natasha Devon MBE has recently launched a Mental Health Media Charter. Created in collaboration with MHFA England, the Samaritans and Beat, the charter details seven 'dos' and 'don'ts' for media to be aware of when discussing or depicting mental health stories.

So far, the charter has been endorsed by Girlguiding, The Coalition for Men & Boys and the Labour Campaign for Mental Health.

Read more.

News in brief

  • MHFA instructor Kathryn Grant spoke to ITV lunchtime news about the recent Thriving at Work Report and the importance of Mental Health First Aid in workplaces
  • The Daily Mail covered the launch of the government "1 Million" programme
  • Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, also wrote a letter to the Independent about the programme
  • The Huffington Post worked with MHFA England to develop a video with mental health advice for the workplace
  • The Financial Times talked to Jaan Madan, Head of Client Experience Team at MHFA England, for their podcast on workplace mental health 
  • MHFA instructor Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin shared their story with Sky News - live from our 10th Anniversary event in November!
  • Our CEO Poppy Jaman spoke to BBC News and London Live about the Business in the Community: Mental Health at Work report
  • City AM covered calls for Mental Health First Aid training in workplaces following the report
  • Caroline Hounsell, Director of Partnerships at Mental Health First Aid England, spoke about Youth Mental Health First Aid training with Daz Hale for BBC West Midlands
  • Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press covered Oz Osborne and the 12th Man Campaign's win at our 10th Anniversary Event in November
  • Schools Improvement included Mental Health First Aid training in their guide to mental health support in schools.
  • Employee support service ACAS wrote about promoting positive mental health in the workplace, and included Mental Health First Aid training in their toolkit.
  • Caroline Hounsell, Director of Partnerships at MHFA England, wrote about the Mental Health First Aid in Schools programme for ISA Schools
  • TES also featured a letter from Caroline on the need for more mental health support in higher education, following the launch of our new Higher Education Mental Health First Aid course
  • Our CEO Poppy Jaman wrote for Director of Finance about how financial services employers could do more to support wellbeing in the workplace
Have you got news you’d like us to share? Send us an email on and we’ll add you to our next round up.

What's coming up?


Anger Awareness Week

Anger Awareness Week aims to help people “befriend” anger by using the right tools to calm themselves down and to deal effectively with this emotion, be it of their own or that of others.

Children And Young People’s Mental Health: Improving Care, Treatment and Support

Join this conference to hear practical advice and guidance that will help you how to deliver improvements in access and outcomes, reduce inequality and implement the Government’s Green Paper principles across Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Youth MHFA Instructor Natasha Devon MBE will be a keynote speaker.

Christmas Jumper Day

Christmas Jumper Day aims to “make the world better with a sweater”. Participants wear a Christmas jumper and donate £2 to Save the Children.

National Hugging Day

National Hug Day or National Hugging Day is an annual event dedicated to hugging. The idea of National Hug Day is to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often.

Young Carers Awareness Day

Young Carers Day is an opportunity for people to recognise the challenges that young carers face. The theme for 2017 was “When I grow up” and focused on helping young carers to achieve their dream job. The theme for 2018 has not yet been announced.

Time to Talk Day

Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change and encourages people to speak openly about mental health. Their website has a range of awareness raising tools and materials you can use to help raise awareness and mark the day in your organisation.
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