Should all Workplaces have a Mental Health First Aider?

Åse and I are now offering Mental Health First Aid Training and we have had some interesting discussions lately with potential clients about the ‘need’ for a MHFAider and the role that this individual should have in an organisation.

MHFA England is working hard to de-stigmatise mental health in the UK by encouraging workplaces and individuals to engage in mental health first aid training. Their hope is to raise awareness of mental health issues as well as improve the literacy levels of everyone around mental health topics while boosting confidence to both recognise and respond to concerns.

MHFA England’s website promotes:-

Two Day - Mental Health First Aiders

A practical skills and awareness course designed to give you: −

  • A deeper understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect people’s wellbeing, including your own

  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues

  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress

  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgmental listening

  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to appropriate support”

Some people are arguing that a simple 2 day training course is not enough. We tend to agree. We feel that there needs to be built in support (similar to counselling supervision) for all participants who qualify as Mental Health First Aiders. To allow them to keep up to date with recent trends and news in the mental health world, as well as have a support group and mentoring system to offload concerns or get advice about situations they encounter.

Luckily, most of the clients we speak to agree, and we’re able to support them through both the training and supervision/mentoring process.

Just as having a medical ‘First Aider’ is compulsory for companies, there are calls for mental health first aid to be part of legislature. At present, this is in discussion but is not mandatory:-

“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have enhanced its First Aid guidance to help employers understand the existing need to consider mental health alongside physical health when undertaking their ‘needs assessment’. There has, however, been no legal change to make mental health first aid-type training mandatory.”

For us, any forward motion is good news and a great place to begin is just starting to talk about mental health and if having a first aider will work for your workplace.

So give us a call if you want to find out more about what’s involved. Lots of Companies are getting on board - how about you?

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