Mental health first aid (MHFA) law proposed in parliament

A new law requiring businesses to offer mental health first aid training has just been presented in parliament.

Conservative MP Dean Russell told the House of Commons that this move will lead to more people spotting the early signs of mental ill-health in the workplace.

Many businesses already offer mental health first aid training, but it is not a legal requirement.

Mr Russell told MPs that requiring MHFA training in the workplace would save lives.

“People do not always wear bandages to show where they have anxiety and depression. This Bill will simply mean that workers have a person to signpost them to the help and support they need, when they need it.”

MP Dean Russell

The MHFA idea has been discussed for several years. For example, back In 2018, a petition for the “Where’s Your Head At!” campaign for a mandatory mental health first aider in every place of work attracted more than 200,000 signatures.

This extra training does come at a cost to businesses, but campaigners highlighted the growing number of workdays lost to poor mental health.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that mental illness accounted for around 50% of all cases of sick leave last year.

Mr Russell believes the change could limit the long-term impact on businesses and the NHS, and ultimately save lives.

“We cannot bring back those we have lost. But through early intervention and ensuring the right signposting at the right time, through this Bill we could possibly prevent losing others in the future.”

Mr Russell proposed the new law as a Ten Minute Rule Bill on Wednesday.

Ten Minute Rule Bills rarely become law – but they represent an avenue for MPs to raise awareness of issues.

Mr Russel has attempted forward similar legislation two years ago, but the Bill failed to go any further.

Health Minister Maria Caulfield watched his speech from the government benches.

Addressing her directly, Mr. Russell said, “This is not a request that will go away and I will be back if needed. It is a simple change that will make a massive difference.”

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Carlisle Eden Mind delivers a range of Mental Health First Aid Courses that are accredited by MHFA England. Mental Health First Aid training courses teach people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill-health and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe.

You’ll also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms.

What’s more, you’ll gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you.

Your MHFA doesn’t come to an end when your 2 day course is over. MHFA now offers MHFAiders continuous support through their new app. See the gallery below for more details.

To find out more about our training courses please please click here. Alternatively you can contact to discuss available options for you.