I recently qualified as a Mental Health First Aider, and just like the more familiar First Aider certification, it’s a skill that’s useful to have, but at the same time, one you hope you never have to draw upon.

But less than a month later, I’ve had to call on the skills I learnt in order to deal with a tragic incident, and it really hit home, a Mental Health First Aider really can contain a situation, deal with what’s in front of them and ensure the next level of support is contacted, all the while being a constant support to the person requiring help.

One of the strongest messages I took from my course was about the power of ‘hope’. In the depths of despair, the smallest glimmer of hope can be just enough of a lifeline for someone to hold onto. It can be so tempting to tell the person you’re looking after that “everything will be ok”, but we’re the first line of support, we won’t know what comes next. So I was conscious of ‘staying in the moment’, of being present in that moment of despair and being that lifeline until additional support arrived.

Ironically, although I undertook the course as workplace training, the issue I dealt with was actually within my own personal family/friends circle. I’ve been very vocal about the need for this type of training both prior to and following the workshop, so thankfully someone within that circle reached out and asked for help.

Once I was able to step back from the situation, I took time to reflect upon what had happened, and again, my Mental Health First Aider training proved invaluable. I was able to process what had happened far more effectively, whilst ensuring that my own mental well-being was balanced.

I also felt a very keen sense of privilege and responsibility at being recognised as someone who could offer help in someone else’s darkest moments. To share that moment was profoundly deep.

So it led me to think that HR Professionals are just like police men and women, doctors, nurses, firefighters, soldiers etc – there are parts of our role that are always on duty, subconsciously ready to react.

We recognise this, and we also know that often our own self care is pushed way down the priority list, or maybe it’s not on the list at all!

I’ve learned that to be a credible Mental Health First Aider, the first person to treat is me! If my self-care is in place, I’ll be effective.

So as a team, we took this message and created a workshop especially focussed on the well-being of HR professionals. We’ve been there, facing the complex and diverse issues that you encounter, and we’re still on that journey!

We can help, we want to help, and we’re passionate about this stuff!

This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s a blog, and those of you who are kind enough to read them on a regular basis know that my blogs are reflective of personal experience. This blog is no different.

But I do want to it convey an additional message, whether you sign up for Mental Health First Aider training (and I really hope you do!), or you talk to us about our Mental WellBeing for HR workshop, put Mental Health on your list, you never know the moment you’ll be needed as an emergency service.


Sue Alty – The Creative Coordinator

Contact Sue

We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!).  An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.