Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has launched best-practice guidance for employers on how to implement Mental Health First Aid in the workplace. This follows the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent enhancement of its First Aid guidance to clarify the existing need to consider mental health alongside physical health when undertaking a ‘needs assessment’.
Mental Health First Aid – to date over 15,000 organisations across the country have already trained staff in MHFA England courses but that figure could rise substantially if the HSE’s updated guidance is adopted by employers. According to the regulator, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health every year, and with its updated guidance, there’s now a need for employers across all sectors to understand how Mental Health First Aid training should be implemented in the workplace.
One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime.
Mental Health is about how we think, feel and behave. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems. They are often a reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, but can also be caused by work-related issues.
Mental health First Aid in the Workplace – How healthy is your workplace now?
Understanding where you are on the journey will inform your strategy or approach and how you communicate it to the organisation. If you are new to talking about mental health in the workplace, we recommend you gradually introduce the topic to the organisation, sensitising and raising awareness, before rolling outMHFA England courses.
Mental Health First Aid – What is your strategy?
Create a wellbeing strategy which centres around the whole person and promote this to staff. Mental health is one element of wellbeing alongside others such as physical, financial and emotional wellbeing, which are all connected in a whole person approach. The Thriving at Work report sets out six ‘mental health core standards’ – a set of actions for employers to support mental health. You can use these to build the mental health element of your wellbeing strategy:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
- Develop mental health awareness among employees
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
- Provide your employees with good working conditions
- Promote effective people management
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing
Recruit your Mental Health First Aiders
How many Mental Health First Aiders do you need?
Legislation for Mental Health First Aid provision in the workplace is not yet in place.
The Health and Safety Executive says:
“You should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.”
To demonstrate that your organisation views mental health as equally important to physical health, we recommend that you consider your organisation structure and the demands on the workforce. For some organisations it may be worthwhile aiming to have as many Mental Health First Aiders as physical first aiders.
For multi-site organisations it is important that there is always a Mental Health First Aider available to support employees at each location.
Many organisations begin by piloting Mental Health First Aiders in one area of the business to establish what works for them before rolling it out more widely.
Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace Training across North Wales
In response to the needs of organisations now implementing Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace, Wales First Aid will be offering a selection of Mental Health First Aid courses at different levels including the accredited Level 3 Award in Supervising First Aid for Mental Health. This course will be delivered over 12 hours spread over 2 days.
The course is suitable for all persons within a workplace but is aimed at those who hold a supervisory / managerial level position and who have responsibility for implementing a positive mental health culture and responsibility for First Aid for Mental Health within an organisation.
A range of subjects are covered including:
- What is First Aid for Mental Health?
- Identifying mental health conditions
- Providing advice and starting a conversation
- Drugs and alcohol
- First Aid for Mental Health action plan
- First Aid for Mental Health in the workplace
- A large range of Mental Health conditions covered in detail
In addition to the above Qualification Wales First Aid will also be delivering Mental Health in the Workplace Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, delivered directly in the workplace across North Wales.
These courses will be available from the end of May 2019.
If you wish to express an interest in having the above courses delivered directly in your workplace or would like further information please call us on 01978 359 441 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace:
Download the new MHFA guidance for employers Implementing Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace or visit MHFA England website.