Mental Health Matters


Our team of Mental Health First Aiders have undergone intensive training and are ready to listen.

What is Mental Health First Aid? It is help given to someone experiencing a mental health problem before professional help is obtained. MHFA does not teach people to be therapists but it gives people skills to notice symptoms and provide initial help and support.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. In the same way as learning physical first aid, MHFA teaches people how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support. Embedding MHFA training within any organisation or community also encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture.

Becoming a Mental Health First Aider

To become a Mental Health First Aider volunteers must complete a comprehensive MHFA awareness and skills course, which includes a mix of presentations, discussions and group work activities.  The course give the Mental Health First Aiders deeper understanding of the issues that impact on and relate to people’s mental health and teaches practical skills that can be used every day, including being able to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and feel confident guiding people towards support.

Independent research and evaluation shows that taking part in an MHFA course:

− Raises awareness and mental health literacy

− Reduces stigma around mental health

− Boosts knowledge and confidence in dealing with mental health issues

− Promotes early intervention which enables recovery

The role

In general, the role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help. As well as in a crisis, Mental Health First Aiders are valuable in providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue.

Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but they can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.

Mental Health First Aiders are trained to:

− Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health

− Start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress

− Listen to the person non-judgementally

− Assess the risk of suicide or self-harm

− Encourage the person to access appropriate professional support or self-help strategies. This might include encouraging access to internal support systems such as EAPs or in-house counselling services

− Escalate to the appropriate emergency services, if necessary

− Maintain confidentiality as appropriate

− Complete critical incident documents as and when necessary

− Protect themselves while performing their role

We have around 20 trained Mental Health First Aiders in A-one+ and another tranche of training planned for the near future. Our aim is to support the wellbeing of our people and create a mentally healthy place to work.

 

For more information please visit the Mental Health England website .