Τhe MHF program was created by NBCC-I (National Board of Certified Counselors – International) (www.nbccinternational.org), part of the NBCC (National Board of Certified Counselors) (www.nbcc.org). 

It is a syllabus based program and, after completing the program; individuals can obtain the Certificate of Attendance and be registered in the MHFs Professional Register. The purpose of the program is to provide the graduates with the ability to handle mental health situations as first aid.

It is not a separate profession but it is considered as additional education that aims to increase the quality of the services of people who come in contact with others during their daily work or duties and to be able to identify and support people with mental health needs. For this reason, the MHF Program can be helpful for counselors/instructors, but also for the staff of educational institutions.

This is a 30-hour program that includes training in counseling skills with integrity, diversity, referral to a specialist when needed, as well as skills and consultation.

Such a program can be useful for a variety of reasons. Training in counseling techniques through the program will fill the participants with a sense of self-confidence and objectivity so they can act instantly on incidents with complete integrity.

Also, candidates will be trained in a specific context so that they can recognize an individual’s mental need as a first step.

Upon completion of the program, participants can act immediately and quickly as “first aid”, to listen, support and then refer to the most appropriate specialist to better deal with the incident.

It also refers to the knowledge about mental disorders such as stress, depression, anxiety, psychosis, addiction, misconceptions, suicidal tendencies, panic attacks, learning difficulties and abuse.

The program also aims to facilitate the management of the feelings and situations that an employee can face in their everyday life with fewer personal costs and better performance in their workplace.

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MHF was implemented in Cyprus for the first time in March 2017 and it was a very important and interesting session, since 14 people of the Cyprus Fire Service Department were trained!