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Mental Health First Aid

If you cut your finger at home or in the workplace you’d no doubt have a supply of plasters nearby ready to pop on it, having a first aid kit is the norm now in the workplace and at home. But mental health affects 1 in 4 people every year so why isn’t there a mental health first aid kit in every workplace?

Fortunately talking about mental health is becoming easier, events like Mental Health Awareness Week, tags on social media like Twitter & instagram making it easier to share posts #mentalhealthmatters

Workplaces are increasingly coming onboard by training and appointing mental health first Aiders

In the U.K, the Government had stated its aim was to train 1 million people in Mental Health First Aid, to have one MHFA-trained teacher in every secondary school by 2019, and to have 10,000 more mental health professionals in the National Health Service by 2020. And, following World Mental Health Day, the Where’s Your Head At? project aims to increase the number of Mental Health First Aiders in U.K. workplaces to a mandatory one in 10.

However more needs to be done to remove the stigma felt by those who struggle with mental health issues, a survey of 3,006 employees revealed that three in five had experienced mental health issues in the past year. However, only 13 percent of those U.K. employees felt comfortable telling their line manager or HR department that they were struggling. Even worse, of those that did, 15 percent suffered disciplinary procedures, demotion or dismissal.

By having a mental first aid kit in the workplace this gives employees reassurance that their emotional well-being is important to the employer, filled with the right variety of items it allows the employee a means of accessing self-help and giving them the opportunity to distract, calm and focus. Including information in the kit on where to get addition help such as from mental health charities or support groups is as essential as items that will in the short term provide relief.

Having a trained Mental Health First Aider in the workplace provides someone with a listening ear who can support and offer guidance.

Being able to say to a colleague ‘I’m struggling, I need to talk ‘ should be as easy as saying ‘I’ve a headache, do you have a pain killer’

saying I’m not okay is ok.

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