Stigma is often cited as the greatest barrier to people seeking help for their mental health, which is why Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England aims to train one-in-ten people as mental health first aiders. Its courses have been rolling out to the Armed Forces community overseas…


THE course creates a peer support network of civilians and military, which can be critical when family and friends are so far away.

Carolyn Aggar, AFF Regional Manager Cyprus and one of many AFF staff members who have been on MHFA courses, said: “Although the course was hard-hitting in places, it was so worthwhile and incredibly beneficial to the Army community in Cyprus.”

Courses have also been running in BATUK, which now means around a quarter of all Service households there have a mental health first aider. 

Maj Pauline Murray-Knight, an MHFA Armed Forces advocate, has trained more than 1,000 military and veterans.

“Soon I’ll be starting work on OP SMART which is the planned mental health package for serving Army personnel, supported by Prince Harry,” she explained.

“There will be courses to suit the needs of different groups. By reducing stigma through understanding we hope to break down barriers to the support that people may need to stay well, recover, or manage their symptoms.”

Useful links

MHFA (mhfaengland.org)

MOD and Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline for serving military personnel and their families (0800 323 4444).

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