Mental Health First Aid England

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Paula Reavey
2 minutes
  • To see if the Mental Health First Aid intervention is working for employees who need it
  • Independent evaluation of the intervention using a complex mixed methods approach

EMPOWER: an Evaluation of Mental Health First Aid from the Perspective of Workplace End Users


The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and social impact of Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), explore participants' experiences of MHFA and investigate how MHFA impacts the culture of organisations adopting it.

While there have been a number of evaluations of mental health first aiders, there has been no systematic investigation of how the interventions impacts end users. This trial study will be the first to provide key evidence on the effectiveness of MHFA.


This trial will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of MHFA. 

The study is a multi-centred, two arm clustered randomised controlled trial. Organisations will be randomly allocated to the control or intervention (estimated sample size 800 recipients). 

The intervention is the standard MHFA intervention provided by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE). The control condition will be organisations having a brief consultation from MHFAE on promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace. 

The primary outcome is health seeking behaviour.

The first phase of the research study ran from April 19 to March 20, with over 40 organisations signed up to use mental health first aid interventions.

A set of measures was then used to ascertain the effectiveness of this intervention and to examine its impact on staff overall and in particular, the end user.

The next phase will be to use qualitative approaches to examine in-depth the experiences of end users who receive the intervention.

By using a combination of interviews and a purpose designed quantitative study, key measures will be identified to be included in future mental health first aid interventions.

The trial will last for three years in total: April 2019-April 2023 (including a one year pause due to the impact of Covid restrictions on data collection).


The study is the first to evaluate the effect of MHFA in the workplace on employees with direct and indirect experience of the intervention, when compared with usual practice.  

The study will also assess the social impact of MHFA and investigate its cost-effectiveness and is the first of its kind.  

The study promises to yield important data, as yet unknown, regarding the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, implementation issues, and the sustainability of MHFA in the workplace.