Do you have a Mental Health First Aider?

Ellie Crowther our HR Advisor at Breathing Space HR became a Mental Health First Aider, completing the course with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA).

Ellie put her name forward to become a Mental Health First Aider as she wants to break the stigma that’s attached to mental health and to help our clients and their employees understand the importance of having good mental wellbeing. Read her blog to see how you can support your employees…

According to the World Health Organisation, 450 million individuals currently suffer from mental health conditions worldwide. This number represents the reported cases therefore, undiagnosed individuals that suffer in silence are not included.

With the number of mental health related illnesses on the rise within workplaces throughout the UK, I wanted to educate myself on the root cause of these issues and have a better understanding as to WHY and HOW organisations can help those suffering with these issues.

Although sometimes overlooked, our mental health and wellbeing is just as important as our physical health, so we need to make a conscious effort to take care of it. It is important as an organisation to understand how poor mental health can affect an employee and know about the interventions you can put in place to support any employees that maybe suffering.

It’s vital for organisations to support employees mental health and wellbeing, as poor mental health can affect productivity, employee turnover, absence rates, employee engagement and can also decrease morale within an organisation.

During the mental health first aid course I looked at several mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, psychosis and suicide and the effects these can have on an individual’s everyday activities, family life and work.

To support employees through these issues we looked at introducing different ways to improve working life such as flexible working, job share opportunities, potential career development, working from home and regular 1-2-1’s.

Organisations must break the stigma attached to mental health to make it more comfortable for employees to talk openly and honestly.  Offering helpline services, regular employee engagement surveys, mental health awareness courses, wellness sessions and having a known mental health first aider within the organisation are just some of the ideas companies can easily implement.

One of our clients has recently introduced yoga and meditation sessions for employees to attend on their lunch breaks. This gives the employee time to relax and take their mind away from work. Whilst we recognise this wouldn’t be suitable for all organisations, it is positive to see a company  listening and supporting their employees mental wellbeing.

We look forward to seeing how other organisations incorporate mental health and wellbeing into the duty of care for all employees and how we can all move forward together in improving mental health within the workplace.

Remember, Christmas for some people is the most stressful and loneliest time of the year, followed closely by January 20th being known as the most depressing day of the year. Therefore, check in on your employees, friends and family this festive season!

If you need any advice, please contact us here at Breathing Space HR.