What is Mental Health First Aid?

Humanex, based here in Tauranga, is the largest Aotearoa-accredited provider of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) NZ curriculum. They provide evidence-based mental health and wellbeing education training to all New Zealanders.

But what is mental health first aid, and why is it important for your business? We asked the team at Humanex to shed some light on the subject…

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid is a global program that was inspired by the successful physical first aid model. Developed in Australia in 2000, it is regularly updated to ensure it is drawing upon the latest evidence base. This course is an internationally acclaimed accredited training program that empowers and equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to support a friend, family member, or co-worker experiencing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis such as being suicidal.

The focus of MHFA is on early intervention and as research suggests, the longer the delay between developing mental health problems and receiving appropriate support and treatment, the lengthier and more difficult the recovery process may be. The aim is to educate and empower individuals within the workplace so assessment and response can occur quickly at a peer-to-peer level. The programme is practical and effective and reduces the need for external crisis and post-crisis support.

Why is MHFA important for your business?

Most organisations have some workplace policies in place relating to crisis and post-crisis services (EAP etc), but most aren’t considering the advantage of preventative and early intervention strategies.

Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is an increasingly important and rapidly evolving facet of business. There is certainly a lot of public awareness around mental health issues but for a long time, these have been viewed as personal or domestic problems. This view is changing, and there are some excellent examples of progressive organisations prioritising workplace psychological safety, however, the majority are still playing catch up.

Humanex mission is to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health and wellbeing education, training, and resources to all New Zealanders (within the context of prevention and early intervention stages of the mental health spectrum), and, to campaign and advocate for improved mental health and wellbeing initiatives in New Zealand. Delivery of the MHFA curriculum is the first step in a journey to improve the mental wellbeing of the nation.

Lindsey and Kate Humanex

Humanex are driven to have a trained and certified Mental Health First Aider in every organisation in New Zealand. At a broader community level, we aim to have one in ten people in New Zealand trained by 2030.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mental Health First Aid, Humanex is providing several public MHFA courses during February and March. For more information visit their website. 

To enquire about an in-house course for your team, or to receive more information please visit contact the team at or 0800 408 136

Looking for more business tips and advice? Head to our Latest News section. 

Voice: What does 2023 have in store for local business?
Member Profile: Whare PR

Related articles