Youth Mental Health First Aid

While most schools/colleges have staff trained in mental health awareness already, it is important to recognise the massive scale of the challenge ahead in approaching the mental health and wellbeing needs of pupils, parents and staff following the recent lockdown.

Schools, universities and workplaces must adapt to a likely surge in mental health needs by looking at the whole culture of how they operate, as well as ensuring that excellent support is available for those who require it. Therefore, it goes beyond pastoral care – schools need to start creating a community which recognises and protects everyone’s wellness and having a team of certified Mental Health First Aiders can help support that.

Children and young people across the UK have had their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every young person has had to adjust to dramatic changes in their education or employment, routine and home life. Some have experienced bereavement or other traumatic experiences during the lockdown period, while groups who were already marginalised or disadvantaged are now likely to become more so. 

In July 2020, the Coronavirus: Impact on Young People with Mental Health Needs’ study conducted by Young Minds found:

While many young people felt that the easing of restrictions would have a positive effect on their mental health, and were excited about seeing friends again, others were concerned about the possibility of a second wave of the virus. Many also had mixed feelings about a return to ‘normal’ life, especially with some restrictions still in place. School work was a source of anxiety for many, including the need to do home learning and worries about falling behind.

With many different issues arising – some of which have never had to have been dealt with before it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure we are supporting our students and staff.

What is Youth MHFA?

Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses are for everyone who works with, lives with or supports young people aged 8-18. They will teach you the skills and confidence to spot the signs of mental health issues in a young person, offer first aid and guide them towards the support they need. In doing so, you can speed up a young person’s recovery and stop a mental health issue from getting worse.

Our courses won't teach you to be a therapist, but we will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis - and even potentially stop a crisis from happening. 

But more than that, we aim to give you the information and skills to look after your own mental health so that you can set an example for young people. By giving you the tools to have these conversations, we hope to empower you to create a mentally healthy, supportive environment in your family, school, peer group or community.

Let's create a future where mental health is treated as a normal part of life, in the same way as physical health. A future where every young person has access to support if they need it.


Our courses:

Youth Mental Health First Aid Awareness

This introductory four-hour session raises awareness of young people’s mental health. It covers:

  • Some of the common mental health issues affecting young people, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and psychosis
  • Skills to work more effectively with young people living with mental health issues
  • Ways to support young people with a mental health issue and relate to their experiences

Everyone who completes the session gets:

  • A certificate to say you are Youth Mental Health Aware
  • A manual to keep and refer to whenever you need it 



Youth Mental Health First Aid Full Certification

This two-day course qualifies you as a Youth Mental Health First Aider, giving you:

  • An in-depth understanding of young people’s mental health and factors that affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues 
  • Confidence to reassure and support a young person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgmental listening 
  • Knowledge to help a young person recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s through self-help sites, their place of learning, the NHS, or a mix – engaging with parents, carers and external agencies where appropriate
  • Ability to support a young person with a long term mental health issue or disability to thrive
  • Tools to look after your own mental wellbeing ​

Everyone who completes the course gets:

  • A certificate of attendance to say you are a Youth Mental Health First Aider
  • A Youth MHFA manual to refer to whenever you need it
  • A workbook including some helpful tools to support your own mental health



We have 2 free poster downloads for schools, colleges and universities.

Feel free to print these out and display in your corridors and staff rooms.

 Student poster download                                                                                 Staff poster download

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Leading Well is a program delivered by The Growth Company, a not-for-profit organisation whose core purpose is to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. More information on Growth Company services can be found at