What is Mental Health First Aid Training and how can it help my business?

The need for employers to better support employees when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing has never been greater.

The UK is in the grip of a mental health crisis, with the number of people experiencing moderate-severe mental illness having doubled during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is anticipated that approximately 10 million people will need help with mental ill health relating to the pandemic, including 1.5 million children, although two-thirds were already struggling before Covid-19 hit (Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, 2021)

Most business owners want to take care of the mental health and wellbeing of their employees – they simply don’t know where to start.

An independent review of workplace mental health commissioned by UK government, (The Thriving at Work Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers 2017), identified the extent of the problem and also set out the steps that businesses should take to improve mental health and wellbeing at work.

“The UK is facing a mental health challenge at work that is much larger than we thought. Not only is there a big human cost of poor mental health at work, there are also knock on impacts for society, the economy and Government.”

One of the ‘mental health core standards’ recommended in the review, for all organisations in the UK is;

‘Develop mental health awareness among employees.’

So, as a business how do you develop mental health awareness?

What can YOU do as an organisation to raise awareness and educate employees. to help people thrive at work and create a more positive mental health culture?

Training and education is key. Mental Health First Aid training should be a central component in every workplace mental health strategy.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

In 2000 the Mental Health First Aid programme was created in Canberra, Australia by Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm (2000). The aim was to;

“Extend the concept of first aid training to include mental health issues so that community members were empowered to provide better initial support to people developing mental health issues or in a mental health crisis.”

Since its creation, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training has spread to many other countries including Bermuda, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand and the list goes on…

(further details of the international reach of the Mental Health First Aid Programme can be found at the MHFA Australia website: www.mhfa.com.au).

The way MHFA works is that for each country either a mental health government agency or a non-government mental health organisation adapts the original MHFA training programme materials to suit their own culture and health system.

In 2009 MHFA England (CIC) was established with a core mission to;

‘Raise mental health awareness amongst the general population.’

Since then many UK businesses and organisations have benefited from training their employees as Mental Health First Aiders (Siemens, Bowmer and Kirkland, Lendlease the Armed Forces and many many more – there are now over 3 million trained mental health first aiders worldwide).

To qualify as a Mental Health first aider in England an employee/individual has to complete the Adult 2-day MHFA course facilitated by a qualified MHFA trainer.

Once completed participants will have learned how to:

  • Spot the early signs of a mental health issue.
  • Feel confident in how to offer and provide initial help to a person experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Preserve Life where a person may be at risk of harm to themselves or others.
  • Help to stop mental ill health from getting worse.
  • Promote recovery of good mental health.
  • Guide someone towards appropriate treatment and other sources of help.
  • Understand the stigma that exists around mental health.

(Source: Adult MHFA Two Day Manual – MHFA England)

To become a certified Mental Health First Aider an employee has to complete the Adult 2 day MHFA course facilitated by a qualified MHFA trainer.

How can MHFA training help my Business?

MHFA training should be a core component of every organisational mental health strategy.

Mental Health training helps to create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, by increasing mental health literacy and confidence. Trained mental health first aiders will be able to spot the signs of mental ill health early, which will in turn help to improve the health of your people, which will in turn improve the health of your business.

For details of how we can help you implement mental health first aid training in your business, contact our team now. We believe that our MHFA training is very different to others in the market, we don't believe it's ok the train people in MHFA and send them on their way... every individual that trains with us is entitled to a one to one coaching session and ongoing support.

Find out more here: https://mhib.co.uk/mhfaonline2021/

With love, the MHIB team

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