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Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

29 days ago by Natalie Smith

​As of last week, coincidently 2024’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we officially have two Mental Health First Aid trained staff members, Rae and Lawrence, to support our wider business.

In recent years, mental health has emerged as a critical issue within the workplace. With increasing awareness and understanding, businesses are recognising the importance of supporting their employees' mental well-being. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a vital tool in this effort, providing essential skills and knowledge to help employees manage mental health crises and promote a supportive workplace culture.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Everyone has Mental Health, just as we all have Physical Health. Mental Ill Health can strike at any time and can affect anyone, in a magnitude of different ways. There are plenty of different types of support out there, and a Mental Health First Aider can help you access them.

To allow people to spot the early signs, open up a dialogue and encourage a culture that enhances these experiences, Mental Health First Aiders can try and break down the stigma around this topic with any environment you might find yourself in. Mental Health First Aiders are a point of contact if you, or someone you are concerned about, are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. They are not therapists or psychiatrists but they can give you initial support and signpost you to appropriate help if required.

They can help empower those to access the support that is required and available, whether that be Medical professionals, self-help tips and tricks or simply encouraging the conversation around the issues, which can be a great tool in itself.

The Importance of Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

1. Early Identification and Intervention

Early identification can prevent the escalation of mental health issues, having dedicated MHFA to sign post their colleagues to where they can get help can stop these issues leading to worsening conditions and effecting their time at work.

2. Reducing Stigma

MHFA training promotes understanding and empathy, reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. We hope it will encourage open discussion and make employees realise it’s ok to ask for help – even if they feel work is affecting them.

3. Crisis Management

Mental health crises, such as severe anxiety attacks, depression, or suicidal thoughts, can occur suddenly and require immediate attention. MHFA training equips employees with the skills to handle such situations effectively, providing immediate support and ensuring the person receives the necessary professional help.

4. Boosting Productivity and Reducing Absenteeism

Mental health issues can significantly impact productivity and attendance. Employees struggling with mental health problems may experience difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or maintaining consistent attendance. By addressing mental health proactively, employers can boost productivity, reduce absenteeism, and create a more stable workforce.