Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce MHFA England have been awarded Silver Trailblazer status!


MHFA England® has shown clear growth and strong commitment to further improve racial equality in their organisation since obtaining Bronze status.

Through both internal and external methods, the social enterprise has proven that race equality is not only a top priority for them, but also effective in educating on anti-racism, racial inequities and positively impacting staff of colour. By gaining absolute buy-in from the CEO, as well as senior leadership and its central team, to embed race equality into their strategies and implement initiatives, this has really enabled MHFA England to gain traction in their journey.


MHFA England truly understands the need for their work to tackle racial inequality both internally for its staff, as well as externally with the mental health training they deliver to the UK population. This makes them one of the top Trailblazer organisations our judges felt deserved such an honour, with 100% of the panel agreeing that they demonstrated what action they had taken in the past year.


Actions and initiatives


Improved Intersectional Training 

MHFA England improved their flagship Mental Health First Aider course, with an increased intersectional approach to Race, Gender and Mental Health. Their Instructor Training Programme also reflected these changes so that new Instructor Members deliver the course with an intersectional lens.


Additionally, MHFA England also continue to dedicate themselves to providing educational opportunities that shape the culture of their organisation. They have demonstrated this through committing to a third year of running anti-racism training. They seek to empower their staff with knowledge and behavioural practices that remove barriers, open conversations and create real learning and understanding to facilitate meaningful change. Since achieving Bronze status, they continue to build on what has worked and listen to the voices of their ethnically diverse colleagues.

Generating company-wide conversations on anti-racism


MHFA England also continued to hold their race equity education series, called Critical Conversations which is open to all staff and their Instructor Member community – one of which was attended by 350 people. Our judges felt this showed a commitment to opening difficult conversations and ensuring a psychologically safe space to engage.

The success of these conversations can be observed in their growing attendance. In addition to this MHFA England demonstrate that they are building further trust and endorsement by ensuring Senior Leadership actively participate.


They also show a commitment to applying themselves to consistent improvement. They shared that as they continue with their team based anti-racist conversations (ARC), they have worked to improve the format. This is now themed on a quarterly basis: 2023 quarter four – Microaggressions, 2023 quarter one – Mental Health disparities within racialised communities. This allows for subjects to really be unpacked and understood. This activity was praised by panellists.


Senior Leadership Endorsement 

At MHFA England there is clear investment and endorsement from their senior leadership. Their CEO is the Executive Sponsor of Race Equity and Diversity and Inclusion commitments. In addition to this, their CEO and Head of People Wellbeing and Equity are consistently active and involved in event participation, and organisational strategy building. This is regularly discussed by senior leadership and monthly at the Equity Champions

monthly meetings. In addition to this, their CEO attends organises coffee catch-ups with employees of colour and ensures there is recognition of the work teams are doing across the organisation. This continuous dialogue and collaboration has been positive in supporting the growth in allyship, as well as building trust and endorsement across the organisation.


Gathering better diversity data

MHFA England introduced a new Diversity Monitoring Form, designed using best practice guidance from various expert organisations, and a planned collection strategy. This has been used to collect data from staff, Instructor Members and their whole community to help inform future strategy. In addition, they have worked to complete their ethnicity pay gap report for the second year running.


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement

The impact on MHFA England’s activities and strategy has shown widespread buy-in across the organisation. It has also been reflected in feedback from staff. Some highlights include:



  • A score of 86% in their Great Places to Work staff survey. Results showed opinions and experiences of employees of colour were in line with the rest of the organisation
  • Continued support of the #MyNameIs campaign
  • Continuation of work done by their internal race network Equity Champions, bringing together People of the Global Majority and allies in the organisation to discuss issues around race and equality and for people to share concerns or feedback
  • The CEO is an executive sponsor of the Race Equity and Diversity and Inclusion commitments, which all our judges were in agreement that this showed “a good example of engaging senior leadership and ensuring there is accountability”
  • Building on the My Whole Self campaign, they produced a guide for line managers which provides explicit guidelines about equity and how to support diverse staff groups


Whilst they did face some resistance from a small number of their community, this has been used as a learning opportunity. MHFA England ran training and education sessions, had one to one conversations, dealt with complaints about the “politicisation” of their work and, in some cases, deregistered members who were not aligned to their anti-racism commitments.


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel

The Trailblazer judges highlighted some of the core strengths that they felt represented exceptional dedication toward making a meaningful impact in racial equality within MHFA England. This included:


  • Strong commitment to evolving the culture through a zero-tolerance policy and strategy to ensure the understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion is embedded
  • Investment in education and training internally, as well as the employment of external facilitators
  • A commitment to data collection to inform decisions expanding on findings to ensure there is learning and understanding
  • Publishing their ethnicity pay gap report


One judge commented that MHFA England’s application showed “a broad range of activities detailed, ranging from strategic, operational and celebration” and that “the breadth of activity does indicate commitment to action.” While another praised that their dedication to being an anti-racist organisation and striving for race equality is “included in objectives for each staff member”, referencing this being part of everyone’s performance development review.


Their application was a strong pass across all of the Silver Trailblazer criteria, and they were given actionable feedback to continue their great work towards further accreditations.


Next steps…

MHFA England have outlined some actions they will take over the following year. Including:


  • Ensuring each team, including the Executive and Leadership Team, delivers on their Big Promises on race equity
  • Lead education opportunities on equity and inclusion training for their members, the wider community and the public, in partnership with external organisations where appropriate
  • Making anti-racism and equity staff training mandatory for the third year
  • Updating their website with new and diverse imagery, as well as a diverse and inclusive careers page to encourage greater diversity of applicants


Follow MHFA England’s lead: Become a Trailblazer

If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnically diverse employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.

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