Monday, 25 January 2010

Mental Health First Aid as a Commercial Product

MHFA as a Commercial Product

Mental Health First Aid is now running in sixteen countries. It has been updated in line with instructors and trainees' feedback.

As a training course in interventions for common and more serious mental health conditions, MHFA is the only 'first aid' course out there. In the process of full accreditation from the UK's RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health), MHFA is set to become the key industry-standard product in its field.

Employers are required to put in place physical First Aid trainings and trained personnel. Mental Health First Aid will become equally important as a generic workplace health initiative.

MHFA Instructors are trained in marketing their product. Many intructors facilitate MHFA as a self-employed business. A lot of the promotion of MHFA has been and continues to be through established mental health groups and voluntary organisations. Existing staff are trained as MHFA Instructors and seconded to training duties. Often, the courses are heavily subsidised and trainers not paid any more or little more than their existing salaries.

Recommended MHFA Instructor payment rates should strictly speaking, never be less than £35 per hour. This roughly represents the minimum rate that the trainer should be earning for his or her hours of training. For a 12 hour course, this comes to £420 or £210 a day.

The main reason that trainings are being either subsidised and trainers underpaid, is because mental health organisations are not thinking along commercial marketing lines. This is not always the case and another reason is because voluntary organisations may be receiving specific time-limited funding to roll out the trainings.

Eventually, all MHFA courses will have to stand alone without NHS, PCT or other funding. MHFA Instructors who are not already equipped to do so, will have to become proficient at marketing. This does not mean having to charge a vast amount for trainings. It simply means working smart, putting together a budget and business plan designed to enable the course to stand on its feet and make its way in the world.

A commercial mindset for Mental Health First Aid is becoming more and more crucial if the training is to position itself as the generic course of its kind and industry-standard leader in the field.

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