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Mental Health First Aid - Here to Support You

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Diversity & Inclusion, Guest Blog

What is Mental Health First Aid?

If a colleague hurts themselves physically in the office. What do you do? You’re probably thinking, “I’d call a First Aider”, and you’d be right. If a colleague is experiencing emotional pain, perhaps they’re having a panic attack, or have received a telephone call to say a loved one has died. What do you do? You can call a Mental Health First Aider.

What is Mental Health First Aider? A MHFAider supports someone who is experiencing a mental health issue, in the same way as a physical first aider would support someone who is experiencing a physical health issue. So if you or a colleague are in crisis, as described above, or if you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, stressed or depressed, you can call on a MHFAider for support.

MHFAiders are not therapists, just as physical first aiders aren’t doctors – but they will be able to listen, reassure, and help in a crisis, and will be able to signpost someone to get the help they need. BEIS has over 180 MHFAiders who are listed on Bob.

Between January 2018 and June 2019 BEIS MHFAiders helped colleagues 385 times. The subjects colleagues talked about include: stress; panic attacks; caring responsibilities; and managers seeking assistance with how to help their reportees who have a mental health issue.

The Mental Health First Aid England

It’s Good to Talk

The best thing you can do if you are suffering from stress or a mental health issue is to talk about how you feel. Talk to your family, friends, GP, colleagues, line manager, a helpline. Just talk to someone. There’s the old cliché that “a problem shared is a problem halved” but it is also true. Our society has historically stigmatised the act of asking for help and it’s one of the reasons male suicide rates are so high. I want to challenge that thinking.

Asking for help is a sign of strength

I want to promote the thought that asking for help is a sign of strength. If you realise you are suffering, it may take courage to admit there’s a problem and ask for help. Asking for help could be one the hardest things you do, but it really will be the best thing you ever do and I hope that MHFAiders will be there to help you take that first step towards getting the help you need.

Becoming a MHFAider

If you would like to train as a MHFAider in BEIS please email me and I’ll send you the information.

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  1. Comment by Dr Mary Trainor posted on

    GSE members may be interested to see the HSE report: 'Summary of the evidence on the effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in the workplace' (2018) . A rapid scoping evidence review was undertaken that considered three research questions on the impact, influence and application of MHFA training in workplaces. A number of knowledge gaps have been identified in this evidence review that mean it is not possible to state whether MHFA training is effective in a workplace setting. There is a lack of published occupationally-based studies, with limited evidence that the content of MHFA training has been considered for workplace settings. There is consistent evidence that MHFA training raises employees’ awareness of mental ill health conditions. There is no evidence that the introduction of MHFA training in workplaces has resulted in sustained actions in those trained, or that it has improved the wider management of mental ill-health. The researchers note that gaps in the evidence base were attributable to a lack of well‐designed cross‐industry evaluations
    of the impact of MHFA training.

  2. Comment by Rebekah Clarkson posted on

    Thanks for posting this Gordon. The more ways there are to access help the better.