New Enhanced MHFA Course 2022/2023: What Has Changed And What Has Not?

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you understand the recent changes to the new updated and enhanced Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course.

Following the launch of the new updated and enhanced Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you understand the recent changes.

When will the new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course be launched?

On the 14th September 2022 MHFA England announced that the existing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course was to be updated, with the first new MHFA course being delivered from the 28th of September 2022. The current course can still be delivered until the 31st of January 2023.

At Altruist, we are aiming to switch to the updated course from early 2023 and are now taking bookings.

Why has the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course changed?

There are several reasons why the MHFA course has been updated. The key four reasons are:

  1. To make the course the very best there is for MHFA.
  2. To incorporate the feedback of MHFA participants and instructors.
  3. To offer MHFAiders® ongoing support after the course.
  4. To make the course more inclusive and accessible.

As such, there is a big shift to providing digital support through a digital MHFA manual and the MHFAider Support App®. Unlike a hardcopy manual, digital content (statistics, references, etc) can be updated regularly for accuracy. Hardcopies can still be bought for a small fee if needed.

What has changed in the new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course?

There have been several changes and additions to the MHFA course, including:

  • Greater focus on the role of the MHFAider® and its boundaries.
  • New fictional buddy MHFAiders® who feature in the workbook to give tips, share their reflections, and appear in new films having MHFA conversations.
  • New quizzes to help learners remember key components of MHFA.
  • Greater emphasis on self-care, including an oxygen mask on a plane analogy to illustrate that you can’t help others unless you are in a good place yourself.
  • More attention to inclusivity, including inclusive language and characters from a range of backgrounds featured in films.
  • The films go into detail on how to apply ALGEE (Assess, Listen, Give, Encourage, Encourage).
  • There are now opportunities to practice MHFA conversations and discuss and reflect on how the conversations went.

Will the Online Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course also change?

Yes, the Online Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course is also changing to incorporate the updates and enhancements. The ‘individual learning’ section is being removed from the online version so that it now has exactly the same session plans as the face-to-face version – just delivered virtually for your convenience!

Instead of individual learning, there are now activities to help embed the new knowledge (face-to-face and online). These include quizzes, practice conversations and other reflective activities.

What is staying the same on the new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course?

The core knowledge behind MHFA training hasn’t changed, and several of the key components have remained the same, including:

Is the knowledge taught on the existing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course now outdated?

No! The core knowledge is the same for the updated MHFA course so existing MHFAiders® certification is still valid for two years. As before, after two years all MHFAiders® must complete an MHFA refresher course to update and refresh their knowledge and skills.

Can existing MHFAiders® access the new MHFAider Support App® and other benefits?

Currently, the MHFAider Support App® and benefits will only be available to those who complete the new MHFA course. However, updates are being made to the MHFAider Refresher course and the Online MHFAider Refresher course to give refreshed MHFAiders® access to the new benefits. The updated MHFA Refresher courses will launch in 2023.

If you’re not due to complete an MHFA Refresher any time soon, or are simply keen to have access to the support app and benefits sooner, MHFA England are developing an ‘interim’ access solution for a small admin fee. Watch this space!

What is the MHFAider Support App®?

The MHFAider Support App® helps MHFAiders® carry out their role effectively by providing ongoing support and guidance. The app will be available for Android and Apple phones, and there will also be a desktop version available.

It includes the following features:

  • Resource library: toolkits, guidance, animations, and information on core mental health concepts.
  • Signposting database: Hub of Hope helps users find local and national mental health services for additional support to direct colleagues to.
  • Secure conversation logging: for making confidential notes.
  • Wellbeing check-in reminders: helpful reminders for wellbeing check ins with colleagues.
  • 24/7 text support service: 24/7 text mental health support service through Shout.

How will MHFAiders® receive support and benefits after the MHFA course?

MHFAiders® will receive a welcome email the month after completing the course with access details to the MHFAider Support App® and the Online Learning Hub.

Is the price for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training changing?

Our costs will remain the same for all our private courses for businesses. There has been a slight increase for public courses to reflect material cost increases. We are always supportive to our customers' needs so if you have any questions about costs please do get in touch. You can find out the current MHFA training cost and Online MHFA training cost on our respective course pages.

Are the MHFA Half Day and Youth MHFA courses also being updated?

There are no current plans for the MHFA Half Day, Online MHFA Half Day or Youth MHFA Half Day, Youth MHFA courses to be updated. If this changes, we will update this FAQs page.

Still have a question about the new MHFA course?

We’re happy to answer any questions about the new MHFA course. Please contact us here, call 0121 271 0550 or email

Katie Buckingham

Katie founded Altruist Enterprises in 2013. Since then, she has grown Altruist into a nationwide provider of mental health and resilience training. Katie is a seasoned public speaker and innovator of bespoke mental health courses. In 2022, Katie won the Cambridge Social Innovation Prize awarded by Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge and Cambridge Judge Business School.

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