Mental Health First Aid – for Higher Education

County Hall, Kingston upon Thames
Wednesday 6th December

The Challenges of the Higher Education Setting

We’re all aware of the challenges a university environment can bring to staff and student mental health alike. Moving away from support networks for the first time, academic pressure, financial worries, rising debt and the uncertainty of the graduate job market can all trigger mental ill health or worsen existing mental health issues in students.

78% of students reported experiencing mental health issues in the last year – but less than half had sought support 

66% of academics with mental health issues say their ill health is directly related to work

And long working hours, a culture of overwork, isolation, and increasing pressures from league tables means that stress and burnout is common from PhD students to vice-chancellors.

Higher Education Mental Health First Aid training

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses teach people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support.

We don’t teach people to be therapists – but just like physical first aid, we teach people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis.

By training staff and students in MHFA you can:

  • Give people the tools to keep themselves, their colleagues, students and peers healthy
  • Empower them to access support when it’s needed, for a faster recovery
  • Allow people with a long term mental health issue or disability to thrive in work or study
  • Stop preventable issues arising by building a supportive culture around mental health

Our intensive Higher Education mental health awareness and skills course was created in consultation with leading student mental health charity Student Minds. It was piloted in 16 universities and evaluated by the University of Chester.

This one day course qualifies you as a Higher Education MHFA Champion. It is designed to give you:

  • A deeper understanding of the issues that relate to student and staff mental health
  • Skills to spot early signs of mental ill health
  • Confidence to signpost someone to support – whether that’s through self-help resources, university counselling services, the NHS, or a mix
  • Knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness

What Will I Learn?

Session 1:

  • Mental Health First Aid
  • What is mental health?
  • Impact of mental health issues
  • Stigma and discrimination
  • What is depression?
  • What is an anxiety disorder?
  • Alcohol, drugs and mental health
  • First aid for depression and anxiety
  • Cognitive distortions and CBT

Session 2:

  • Suicide figures and risk factors
  • First aid for suicidal crisis
  • Self-harm
  • First aid for self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • First aid for eating disorders
  • Psychosis
  • First aid for psychosis
  • Recovery
  • Building a mentally healthy higher education community

Groups are limited to 16 in number

This programme is normally costed at £200 per attendee; we are able to offer discounted places thanks to support from the Healthcare On Demand Benevolent Fund.

The reduced cost is just £125 per person including materials, refreshments etc.

The sessions will be a mix of presentation, group discussions and group work activities. We provide a very safe learning environment and is trained to support you throughout the whole course. If you don’t feel comfortable joining in certain parts, then don’t, we won’t ask you to do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Due to some of the sensitive subjects of our courses, including suicide, we limit numbers to 16 people. We want everyone to feel safe and we can help if people find some topics particularly difficult.

About your MHFA Instructor

Jane is a MHFA Youth, Adult and Higher Education Instructor, qualified to deliver the full two-day courses, one day and Introductory courses applicable across the lifespan.

Jane’s background is in Clinical Research (development of new medicines within GlaxoSmithKline; International R & D) and Medical Education (including taught courses, clinical experience programmes in hospital settings and e-learning, worldwide).

She also spent five years teaching in High Education (London and Brighton); in addition to her Lecturer role was a Warden in Student Hall of Residence, so has first-hand experience of the issues in this setting.

Jane has also established a multidisciplinary clinic in Guildford, Surrey with a focus on mental health and emotional wellbeing. This clinical team includes a 30-strong strong panel of psychological/ psychiatric practitioners, including Consultant Psychiatrists, Clinical and Counselling Psychologists, Counsellors/Psychotherapists, plus other related disciplines, such as Dieticians, Speech and Language Therapists etc..

Jane is particularly interested in mental health education within the settings where she hopes to reach those who can have an influence on the lives of young people suffering from mental illness and their families.

To register online CLICK HERE

If you wish to be invoiced for your place(s) please email

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