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Scotland's Mental Health First Aid Young People

Aims of the course

1) to provide participants with a better understanding of young people’s mental health;

2) to equip participants with mental health first aid skills:

- how to recognise the signs of mental health problems or distress 

- how to ask a young person about mental distress 

- how to provide initial comfort and support 

- how to guide a young person towards professional help and other support

Who should attend?

This course is relevant for anyone who supports young people aged 11-17 but this course will be targeting the predominantly SW audience including children and families workers, Mental Health Officers and third sector colleagues.

Course format

The SMHFA:YP course is a 14-hour blended learning course consisting of three parts.

Part 1: online self-study module - 3 hours


  • The policy context in Scotland
  • Attitudes, inequalities, stigma and discrimination
  • Introduction to the most common mental health problems and crises experienced by young people: depression, anxiety, self-harm, alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide
  • Recovery
  • Professional help

Participants will be provided with access to Part 1 from 2 weeks before face-to-face .

Part 2: face-to-face training - This will be held on date advertised.

The training day focuses on developing practical skills. Participants are introduced to the step-by-step approach to providing mental health first aid.

Part 3 - Online self-study module - 4 hours

Building on Parts 1 and 2, this module takes a more detailed look at mental health problems and crises in young people. The materials include interactive scenarios that enable participants to practise and further develop their mental health first aid skills.

After completing all three parts of the course, each participant receives a certificate confirming their ‘Scotland’s Mental Health First Aider for Young People’ status, and a copy of the SMHFA:YP Manual.

Please note: Participants will be contacted via email a few weeks before the face-to-face training regarding access to the online modules.


Alistair Brown is a professional officer for SASW/BASW and is a mental health officer as well as holding a postgraduate qualification in child and adolescent mental health from Otago University NZ. Alistair has completed the approved training to deliver this programme with NHS Health Scotland.

To find out more about this programme, click here.