Evaluation of Mental Health First Aid from the Perspective Of Workplace End UseRs-EMPOWER: protocol of cluster randomised trial phase
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BACKGROUNDMental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a mental health intervention that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. Reviews of the implementation of MHFA found between 68 and 88% of trained Mental Health First Aiders had used their skills when in contact with someone experiencing mental health difficulties. Reviews evaluating the impact of MHFA suggest positive outcomes. However, to date, there has been no systematic, rigorous evaluation of the impact of MHFA on recipients of the intervention, the organisations providing it and the cost-effectiveness of MHFA overall. This trial will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of MHFA.METHODSThe 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, measured using the Actual Help Seeking Questionnaire, at 6 months' follow-up. Data collection will be undertaken at baseline (T0), post-intervention-up to 3 months (T1), at 6 months (T2), 12 months (T3) and 24 months (T4). The primary analysis will be conducted on those participants who receive MHFA, a per protocol analysis.DISCUSSIONThe 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. Being also the first to assess, systematically, the social impact of MHFA and investigate its cost-effectiveness adds to the originality of the study. 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.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicaltrials.gov NCT04311203 . Registered on 17 March 2020.