Increasing mental health knowledge, awareness, and skills is crucial in helping individuals who experience it. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England’s goal is to train 1 in 10 people in England in this, they are currently at 1 in 45. Thanks to support from the Gold Scholarship Opportunities’ Fund, I was able to become a Mental Health First Aider and am now proud to now be part of this community.


Why I chose to become a Mental Health First Aider:

Image of Laptop and learning resources
"Mental ill health is common, it is treatable, and it can be recovered from"

As a Psychology student aspiring to one day be a Clinical Psychologist, developing my knowledge and skills surrounding mental health is something I am constantly striving to do. When applications opened for the Gold Scholarship Opportunities Fund in February of this year, I knew I wanted to make the most of it and began researching courses I could do in summer. While I felt I had a good awareness of many common mental health disorders and their symptoms, the Adult MHFA Course content seemed to fill a gap in this knowledge. It excited me that the course focused on first aid in crisis situations and taught the practical steps to take when supporting someone experiencing mental ill health.


What the course was like:

I completed the course in September over the span of two weeks. It consisted of 4 3-hour zoom calls with a group of 10 others from a range of fields, and our instructor, leading to really insightful discussions and a range of perspectives. In between each zoom session, approximately 2 hours of independent learning was required in the form of modules on an e-learning platform. This was a great way to get back into learning after a summer off and before university started again!


As a Mental Health First Aider I am now able to:

  • Understand anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, self-harm, substance misuse, and suicide in more depth.
  • Better recognise those who are experiencing mental ill health, spot the warning signs, and approach them appropriately about it.
  • Feel more confident speaking about mental health, with a greater understanding of helpful and unhelpful language and the stigma surrounding the subject.
  • Assist appropriately in a crisis situation, such as when someone is experiencing a panic attack, severe psychotic state, traumatic event or suicidal crisis.
  • Actively listen non-judgementally and empathetically and give support.
  • Encourage someone to access supports, both professional and other supports, with an increased awareness of the resources and organisations available and how to broach this subject.
  • Set my own boundaries as a Mental Health First Aider and care for myself.


This course exceeded my expectations for how much I would enjoy it and how many new things I would learn! I would recommend it to any other Gold Scholar wanting to take advantage of the Opportunities Fund, or anyone else just wanting to further their knowledge of mental health.

Posted in: Gold Community, Opportunity Fund, Skills Development


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