It’s mental health awareness week!
This is an annual event organised by the Mental Health Foundation, which is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health, to raise awareness.
Mental health problems can affect absolutely anyone. One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point and it is estimated that 70 million working days per year are lost due to mental ill health in the UK, having a financial cost of £2.4 billion pounds each year. It is of course well recognised that promoting positive mental health in the workplace can be hugely beneficial. Staff with good mental health are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels, and be engaged in their work.
However, when a person has a mental health problem, what they need most is someone who can listen calmly to their feelings and fears, give some simple information and reassurance, and advise them where to get appropriate help. Managers need to feel confident in supporting staff in this way. It is important that managers are not only able to spot the signs of mental ill health, but know how to approach these conversations sensitively and how they can support staff experiencing mental ill health.
Mental Health First Aid training
Training people in Mental Health First Aid is not unlike training physical first aiders i.e. people are trained to offer help for someone suffering from ill health, in this case mental ill health. Mental Health First Aid is therefore an initial response to distress until suitable or professional help can be sourced.
Lincoln Occupational Health is able to deliver Mental Health First Aid courses to employers. These courses have been developed to give attendees a deeper understanding of what mental health is and what factors can affect mental wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid courses will also teach attendees to spot earlier signs and symptoms of common mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and the courses will empower the attendees to react appropriately and signpost when someone in mental distress may need professional help.
Various courses can be offered such as the following:
Adult Mental Health Awareness Half Day course – This is a basic introduction to mental health and why it is important. It introduces some common mental health challenges and discusses how to spot them. During this four hour course attendees learn how to talk with someone who may be experiencing mental ill health, and feel more confident speaking about mental health with colleagues, friends or family. The course will also equip the attendees with some tools to look after their own mental health.
Adult Mental Health First Aider One Day course – On this course the most common mental health problems will be discussed including how to identify when someone is experiencing mental distress. Attendees will feel more confident supporting others and will have a good understanding as to how to signpost appropriately. This course is often recommended for line managers.
Two day course – this is the most comprehensive course, and qualifies the person as a Mental Health First Aider. On this course attendees increase their knowledge around a variety of mental health issues. They will learn some practical tools for supporting friends, family and co-workers. As a mental health first aider, the attendee will feel confident as a first responder in crisis situations and know how to guide someone to appropriate support. A certificate of completion will be issued which does not have an expiry date. MHFA England recommend that a refresher course is attended every two – three years to keep knowledge and skills up to date.
Lincoln Occupational Health can also offer a range of other mental health sessions including a one hour ‘lunch and learn’ workshop, suitable for all employees focusing on promoting wellbeing, managing the pace and boosting resilience. These workshops cover tips that employees can incorporate into both their personal and their working lives to help them manage their daily stressors. It looks at thinking patterns, time management and simple lifestyle changes that can help boost resilience and assist with managing those daily stressors.
As a final point; mental ill health is very common and can still be stigmatised in our society, with many people misinformed about mental health. Speaking up about our mental health encourages others to do the same and will help to normalise mental health. Mental health and physical health should be considered equally important, as they are both integral parts of personal, public and workplace wellbeing.
For more information about how Lincoln Occupational Health can help you please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 481 0093 where our team will be happy to help.