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Mental Health First Aid Action Plans

The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan is a tool to help Mental Health First Aiders structure their interaction with someone who may be struggling with their mental health.


Read on to find out more...



Introduction


Just like in physical first aid, Mental Health First Aid (often abbreviated to MHFA) is the initial support given to someone who may be struggling with their mental health.


In physical first aid, we use the acronym DR ABC (or a version of it) to help First Aiders to structure their response to an incident.


Similarly, a MHFA Action Plan can help MHFAiders to structure their response to a mental health issue.



Variations on a Theme


There are several different MHFA Action Plans in use.


The original Action Plan, known as ALGEE, is widely in use in Australia and the USA.



However, with the introduction of MHFA qualifications in the UK, other versions have emerged, including this one from Nuco/First Aid Awards...



...and this one from Qualsafe Awards...



...and this one from MHFA England...



Key Points


You might have noticed the content of these Action Plans is remarkably similar!


The key points in any MHFA Action Plan are to:


Recognise


Recognising that someone may be struggling with their mental health is critical.


This may be done by the MHFAider, but it may also come from a referral. This could be a line manager, colleague or even the person themself.


Investigate


Having a conversation with the person will allow the MHFAider to find out if there could be a problem, and if so how it is affecting the person. Asking open questions and listening non-judgementally is a key to this.


The person may not be ready to talk about their mental health. In this case, multiple approaches could be made and alternative options could be suggested.


Encourage


If a potential problem is identified, the MHFAider will encourage the person to find ways to make their situation better.


This may be by supporting the person to find self-help techniques, or to get professional help, such as through their GP, Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or an appropriate charity helpline.


It may be that there are immediate actions that need to be taken if someone is at risk of harm. This could involve calling 999 for an emergency ambulance or the police.


Summary


There are several MHFA Action Plans in use. Whichever you use, it's important to recognise when someone could be struggling with their mental health, investigate it by having a conversation with them and encouraging them to take appropriate action if necessary.



If you'd like to find out more about how to train Mental Health First Aiders in your organisation, have a look at our Group MHFA Courses.


If you'd like to know more about how to help someone, why not book on to our Online MHFAider Course.