In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of mental health in the workplace. Employees’ psychological wellbeing not only impacts their personal lives but also significantly influences their productivity and job satisfaction. As organisations strive to create supportive and inclusive environments, the concept of having Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) at work has gained prominence. These individuals are trained to offer initial support to colleagues who may be experiencing mental health challenges. This article explores the benefits of having MHFAs in the workplace, supported by research studies that highlight the positive impact of MHFA training.

The Power of Mental Health First Aiders

Mental Health First Aiders play a vital role in fostering a mentally healthy workplace. They serve as approachable figures for colleagues who may be struggling with mental health issues, creating an environment where individuals feel safe to share their concerns. MHFAs are equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide immediate assistance, offer empathetic support, and direct individuals to professional help if needed. This not only contributes to the overall wellbeing of the workforce but also reduces the stigma associated with discussing mental health matters.

Evidence-Based Benefits of MHFA Training

Numerous research studies have examined the effects of MHFA training and consistently found positive outcomes. One comprehensive study, spanning across 18 trials and involving 5,936 participants, shed light on the profound impact of MHFA training. The study revealed that the effects of training were generally small-to-moderate in the short term and up to six months later. While the effects beyond 12 months remained unclear, the immediate and mid-term benefits were significant.

MHFA training led to several positive outcomes:

  1. Improved Knowledge and Recognition: The study indicated that MHFA training substantially increased mental health first aid knowledge, enhancing participants’ understanding of various mental health conditions, their symptoms, and appropriate responses (effect sizes ranging from 0.31 to 0.72). This is crucial in enabling MHFAs to identify potential issues early on.
  2. Reduced Stigma: Stigmatisation of mental health issues is a significant barrier to seeking help. MHFA training contributed to small but significant reductions in stigma associated with mental health problems (effect sizes ranging from 0.08 to 0.14). This suggests that MHFAs are better equipped to combat negative stereotypes and promote open conversations.
  3. Enhanced Confidence and Intentions: The research highlighted that MHFA training led to increased confidence in helping individuals with mental health problems (effect sizes ranging from 0.21 to 0.58) and higher intentions to provide appropriate assistance (effect sizes ranging from 0.26 to 0.75). This shows that MHFAs are not only knowledgeable but also motivated to offer meaningful support.
  4. Quality of Help Provided: While the study noted small improvements in the amount of help provided to individuals with mental health problems (effect size of 0.23), changes in the quality of behaviours offered remained unclear. This suggests the potential for further training and development in this aspect.
  5. Beliefs About Effective Treatments: MHFA training positively influenced participants’ beliefs about effective treatments for mental health issues (effect sizes ranging from 0.19 to 0.45). This knowledge is crucial in guiding individuals toward appropriate resources and interventions.

Creating a Culture of Support

Incorporating Mental Health First Aiders into the workplace can lead to a cultural shift where mental health is prioritised, discussed openly, and treated with the same importance as physical health. By offering early intervention and support, MHFAs can prevent issues from escalating and provide crucial assistance to colleagues in distress. The evidence-based benefits of MHFA training showcased in the aforementioned study underscore the effectiveness of this initiative.

Mental Health in the Workplace

As organisations continue to navigate the complexities of the modern workforce, it is clear that the presence of Mental Health First Aiders can be a game-changer. These individuals not only contribute to a more empathetic and supportive work environment but also empower individuals to take charge of their mental wellbeing. The research speaks for itself: investing in MHFA training is an investment in a healthier and more productive workforce.


  1. Morgan AJ, Ross A, Reavley NJ. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Mental Health First Aid training: Effects on knowledge, stigma, and helping behaviour. PLoS One. 2018 May 31;13(5):e0197102. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197102. PMID: 29851974; PMCID: PMC5979014. Click here to review the full research article

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