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Health and Safety Directorate

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid

When you are struggling with poor mental health, it is vital to have access to somebody with accurate and helpful information about support and resources. If you feel you need support in seeking help, or even just somebody to talk to, our Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders) are here to help. Our MHFAiders have been trained to actively listen without judgment and signpost to appropriate services where necessary.

You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health condition or be in a crisis to speak to a MHFAider. All conversations with our MHFAiders are kept confidential, unless the individual has concerns for your immediate safety, in which case they will discuss this with you. You may feel more comfortable speaking with somebody who you are not familiar with, in which case we have included details of the School, Institute or Directorate that our MHFAiders are based in.

Contacting a Mental Health First Aider

Find out who you can speak to by accessing the List of Mental Health First Aiders.

MHFAiders have received training to spot signs and symptoms of poor mental health and to respond accordingly. They have been trained to listen and communicate in a non-judgmental and inclusive way and can support you in seeking additional support. MHFAiders can help to signpost towards recognised supports (both professional and others) however, the support you seek following the conversation will ultimately be your decision.

Reasons you may contact an MHFAider include:

  • You have concerns about a colleague or student’s mental wellbeing (usually shown by a change of behaviour).
  • You yourself are experiencing mental health difficulties e.g. feeling stressed, anxious, low and want to share this with someone and explore options for seeking help (you do not need to have been diagnosed with a mental health condition).
  • You see a colleague or student in emotional distress and are not sure how to handle the situation or would like some support in handling the situation.
  • You need advice about supporting someone you know who has a mental health condition or is experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • You want some information and guidance on staff and/or student support services within the University.  

If you feel you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or others, call 999. An ambulance may be called if appropriate, and they will advise whether you should go to A&E.

Otherwise, you can access urgent mental health support by:

  • Calling Samaritanson 116 123 (24 hours, 365 days a year)
  • Requesting an urgent appointment with your GP (GPs are offering video/phone consultations)
  • Contacting your local NHS Mental Health Crisis Number – enter the borough, county or town where you are currently livingand ‘Mental Health Crisis Line’ into your search engine

For other non-urgent support available, see below.

Accessing support at Queen Mary

 To explore wellbeing support options available for staff, visit the Human Resources wellbeing webpages.

To explore wellbeing support options available for students, visit the student wellbeing hub.

Additional links

What is Mental Health First Aid?

First aid is the help given to a person who is ill or injured before professional medical treatment can be obtained. The aims of any first aid are to preserve life, to prevent further harm, to promote recovery and to provide comfort to the person who is ill or injured.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) can be applied to a person developing a mental health issue, a person experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health issue or to a person in a mental health crisis. Wider aims of MHFA are to raise awareness of mental health issues in the community and to reduce stigma and discrimination.

Duties of a Queen Mary MHFAider

  • Respond promptly when requested
  • Administer mental health first aid appropriate to the level of qualification and as per training
  • Know how to secure additional help when needed
  • Support other mental health first aiders as required
  • Comply with requirements for certification
  • Improve own health and reduce stigma
  • Advise the departmental Safety Coordinator or Line Manager of intended absence, such as annual leave so that cover can be arranged
  • To keep confidentiality unless individual is at risk of harm to themselves or others


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