As society becomes increasingly aware of mental health conditions and the importance of emotional wellness, employers and employees are also opening their eyes to its role within the workplace. As a business, introducing Mental Health First Aid could be the key to improving the working environment.
So, what do employers need to know about integrating Mental Health First Aid into their workplaces? Let’s find out.
What is Mental Health First Aid?
If an employee were to faint or experience another physical health problem at work, a colleague would probably administer first aid. But what would happen if someone showed signs of poor emotional wellness? That’s where Mental Health First Aid comes into play.
Mental Health First Aid, or MHFA, is defined by MHFA England as ”a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue”. It aims to empower workers by equipping them with the skills to identify signs of ill mental health and listen or respond effectively.
Why Does Mental Health First Aid Matter?
The importance of MHFA for both employers and employees could not be greater. The fact is that the prevalence of poor mental health, both in and out of the workplace, is at an all-time high. Given that the average person spends more time at work than any other place other than their home promoting improved wellness in the workplace is crucial.
Every worker has probably heard anecdotal evidence to support the importance of MHFA. The statistical data further highlights the need for it for employers and employees alike. Some key factors include;
- Poor mental health costs UK businesses upwards of £45bn per year.
- It is suggested that 1 in 8 sickness days in the UK are because of poor mental health.
- Mental health issues like anxiety and stress cause half of all ill health cases at work.
- Over 14% of workers consider themselves to have a mental health issue.
- 21% of people have called in sick because of stress, while 42% considered resigning.
Mental Health First Aid directly impacts employee well-being, which can subsequently impact everything from employee attendance levels to productivity. After all, happy workers are 13% more productive. The importance of emotional wellness is clear and MHFA.
Why EVERY Business Needs a Mental Health First Aider
As with traditional first aid, Mental Health First Aid is designed to equip workers with the skills and knowledge to provide support and care in the necessary situations. They are known as mental health first aiders. Then, the big question is why does your business need at least one?
Over half a million people had completed MHFA training before the pandemic as thousands of businesses have seen the benefits. The figures are growing at a rapid pace as we leave the pandemic. Here are just some of the reasons companies must join the party;
- It shows employees that you genuinely care about their mental wellness,
- It ensures that poor mental health can be identified quickly rather than letting people suffer in silence.
- Businesses can see fewer staff absences while on-site workers will perform better too.
- Having the right protocols in place ensures that any mental health issues can be dealt with in the right way, including the right next steps.
- It satisfies your human responsibilities and produces peace of mind.
Appreciating the need to embrace MHFA is one thing, but actively getting started with the process is another. Here’s how to do it in just three easy steps.
Hold a Meeting with Your Team
Getting employees on board with your plans will make the integration of MHFA far easier. Use this opportunity to express the benefits of Mental Health First Aid, especially as it is widely reported that mental health issues in the workplace are rising. It would be best if you used this time too;
- Mention the importance of mental health,
- Let employees know that there is no stigma attached to seeking help,
- Ask which employees would be interested in becoming Mental Health First Aiders.
Build Better Surroundings
Workplace surroundings can be a major contributor to workplace anxiety and mental health issues. For example, 1 in 4 workers has been bullied. As an employer, you can make changes to the company culture and surroundings to help actively prevent MHFA. It won’t stop them completely, but it can help. Some tips are;
- Build transparent communication and equality across the team.
- Invest in drinks breaks and exercise breaks to support physical and mental health,
- Consider using remote working or flexible working.
Sign Up for Courses
Getting employees onto the right MHFA courses is crucial too. This isn’t just a box-ticking exercise. You actively want your employees to come away from the courses feeling empowered so that they can help colleagues. When looking at courses, you should always check that they;
- Can be completed conveniently,
- Give detailed insight into a comprehensive range of MHFA issues.
- Offer value for money.
FAQs on Mental Health First Aid
Which Businesses Need MHFA?
If you employ a team of workers, you need to consider mental health issues. Regardless of what industry you’re in. While women are statistically shown to experience symptoms more frequently at work than men, all workers are vulnerable.
How Many MHFA First Aiders Does the Business Need?
It is ultimately a personal choice, and there are no regulations. As a rule of thumb, though, it is suggested that you should have as many mental health first aiders as physical, mental health first aiders within the company.
Mental Health First Aid is a key ingredient in the recipe for modern business success, and now is the time to get it right. It empowers your mental health first aiders and protects all employees who may experience mental health problems over the months to come.
The most important step is to find a winning MHFA course for your workforce. Check out our online Mental Health First Aid course to begin upgrading your team today.