Does your company need a first aider for mental health?

August 22, 2016   //   No Comments

first_aid_kit smallTraining a member of staff as a designated first aider in any workplace is common practice which many will have experience of – and often, it’s something an employer is legally required to do, depending on the size and nature of a workplace.  Why, then, do we not extend the same attitude towards mental health first aid, as we do for physical first aid?

One in four people of working age will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives, so it makes sense that we should address it in the same way we address physical ill health.  Mental health first aid is just one of the ways to do this. On one of the many mental health first aid courses offered in the UK, from organisations like MIND, attendees can learn about things like how to recognise the signs of mental ill health in the workplace, how to help someone exhibiting signs of mental ill health such as a panic attack, and how to appropriately and sensitively support someone who suffers from an ongoing mental health condition.

Training a member of staff in mental health first aid can help ensure that there is someone in the office who can recognise the signs of mental ill health in employees when they first develop. This can mean that someone struggling with their mental health can get the help they need much earlier on, and having someone in the office trained in mental health first aid also helps to remove the stigma around talking about the subject.

As well as benefitting employees by getting them the help they need and reducing the stigma, training an employee in mental health first aid can benefit companies too. Mental ill health is one of the most common reasons for long-term sickness absence from work, and intervening and providing support for staff with these problems as they occur, rather than waiting for the issues to become severe enough to require long periods of time off work, can help save companies time and money.

Remember that SAIF Members are provided with SAIFSupport, which provides a free and confidential telephone and email helpline plus up to six free counselling sessions. Find out more here.

Source: FitforWork