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It isn’t uncommon for your staff to experience issues relating to their mental health. Many things can contribute to this; it could be due to work-related issues (the environment, workload, or relationship with colleagues) or problems in their personal lives.
Whatever the cause, these issues can have long-lasting effects on the sufferers, with the possibility of worsening conditions when they aren’t addressed.
This piece focuses on the role of a mental health first aider. In it, we’ll highlight their responsibilities and the advantages of having one in your business.
Just like physical first aid, a qualified mental health first aider can be invaluable when supporting employees experiencing mental health issues at work. While they can’t provide therapy, they can support staff members and help to make their work-life easier.
They’re trained to spot the signs and symptoms of ill mental health and offer appropriate support. Signs of potential issues include:
They offer various practical methods for dealing with mental health conditions.
While mental health first aiders don’t offer long-term support, they do provide immediate support and information that can help manage the signs of ill mental health. Their duties include:
Although the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) isn’t able to say whether MHFA training is effective in a workplace setting, it states there’s consistent evidence suggesting it raises awareness of mental health conditions.
While it isn’t compulsory to have mental health first aiders at work, it does bring with it many advantages. First of which is simply raising the conversation around mental health.
Other advantages include:
Offering this training shows your staff that you’re open to talking about mental health and encourages them to join the conversation. This, as well as creating a positive culture around mental health also reduces the stigma surrounding it.
If you’re wondering, “how many mental health first aiders do I need?” there’s no right number for an organisation. It’ll depend on a variety of factors including the size and nature of your business. Ideally, you’ll want the same number of mental health first aiders as you do medical first aiders.
As well as increasing awareness, it teaches individuals to recognise the warning signs of ill mental health and take steps to guide them to the appropriate support.
Some employees may decide to go take this course out of altruism while others may use it as a career advancement opportunity.
But most importantly of all, they do it to gain the practical skills needed to identify triggers and the confidence to address them.
If you would like further information regarding MHFA, please contact Health Assured on 0844 892 2493.
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