NPTC Group of Colleges’ Number of Mental Health First Aiders Exceeds 100!

MORE than 100 members of staff from across NPTC Group of Colleges have completed their training to become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA).


Working with Mental Health First Aid England and Wales, support and lecturing staff completed the training with the aim of promoting mental wellbeing and encouraging open, honest conversations about mental health in the workplace.  


The role of a MHFA within the workplace is to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing mental ill-health or emotional distress. The interactions could range from having an initial conversation to supporting/encouraging their colleagues to get appropriate help. Many staff cited that they ‘’wanted to give something back to staff members and close work colleagues’’ as the main reason for becoming a MHFA.


The training provides attendees with an understanding of mental health conditions and strategies to help those who may be struggling, including, how to start a mental health conversation, listening and signposting to support. 


Another aim of the scheme is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and put it on par with physical health. One member of staff explained:


‘’Mental health awareness is very close to my heart after being diagnosed with it myself, it is a lonely illness and although the stigma of mental health is not as bad today there is still a stigma there. No one should have to feel so alone that they cannot ask for help or talk about their very real issues.’’


In 2017 NPTC Group of Colleges signed the Time to Change pledge and with this offered all staff the opportunity to become part of the Mental Health First Aid Team. 

The first cohort of team members took the training in February 2018, initially with only eight staff members. 

From there, the College has put on multiple Mental Health Awareness courses and further MHFA training growing the team to 106 MHFA members and training an additional 68 members of staff to levels 1 and 2 in Mental Health Awareness.


The mental health first aid programme forms part of the Colleges’ wider well-being strategy which works to create a working environment where health and wellbeing are at the core of everything the College does. Eleanor Glew, Vice Principal: Operational Services said: ‘’I am delighted with the success of the scheme so far and that over 100 employees have already chosen to undertake the training is simply fantastic. We really hope we will see more employees and peers feeling comfortable enough to start a conversation with their MHFA’s. However, it is important to remember that Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but they can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.’’


The College’s Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Lesley Havard and the HR team continuously promotes mental and physical health through regular activities including Time to Talk Coffee and Chat drop-in sessions with the MHFA team; organising guest speakers to promote work-life balance, Oddballs and Coppafeel! to support with discussions around cancer; and also Menopause awareness in the workplace, to name a few.