Delivering mental health first aid: An exploration of instructors’ views

Kate Byrne, Iain McGowan, Wendy Cousins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Mental health literacy among the general public is poor; many people lack the skills to provide early intervention and suicide prevention strategies. 'Mental Health First Aid' (MHFA) is a 12-hour mental health promotion programme offering a tool kit and action plan supporting participants to engage with those experiencing a mental health difficulty. Exploring the MHFA model, this study aims to capture the views of experienced MHFA instructors, sharing their journey of programme delivery in Northern Ireland. A focus group of six instructors participated in a semi-structured recorded meeting, transcripts of which were analysed and key themes identified using a pragmatic approach to schematic content analysis. This study identifies and explores four themes: future roll out, instructor skills, challenges, networks and motivation. Results indicate that complex strategies are employed in delivering MHFA training, while the conclusion calls for the development of a mental health public awareness campaign and continuation of the MHFA programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Promotion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2015


  • Early intervention
  • Health literacy
  • Instructors
  • Mental health first aid
  • Mental health promotion


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