With employers across the UK acting now to create mentally healthy businesses, Lucy Hine explains how you can get involved by becoming a mental health first aider
After reading in a recent issue of The Journal about the CII partnering with Mind to produce the Guide to Thriving at Work report, I wondered how I could be a part of such a positive platform and help to promote discussions surrounding mental health in the workplace.
I provide training courses accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health and endorsed by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England for organisations of all size and sector. MHFA England is currently the only provider of licensed Mental Health First Aid Instructor training in England and independent instructors like me deliver the courses across the country. Around 1,800 MHFA England qualified instructors have trained more than 360,000 people to date including many across the insurance and financial services professions.
Grounded in research and rigorously tested, MHFA England courses are developed by experts with input from people with lived experience of mental health issues. Following a debate held in parliament in January on legislative change around MHFA in the workplace, a cross-party group of MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion to introduce legislation to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing through first-aid regulations.
The government has made some clear commitments to achieving parity of esteem for mental health, a vision that MHFA England, Have A Word and many other mental health organisations share. Updating the current first-aid regulations to include mental health would move us one step closer to achieving this equality and we believe that it really is a case of when, not if, this change in law will happen.
From a personal perspective, providing training courses for organisations gives me huge satisfaction and through feedback I am often told that the course has not only changed people's perception of mental ill health, but also changed their way of thinking forever. These moments of realisation are created during group discussions, activities and watching real, lived experience videos created by people with mental health issues.
Employers across the UK are acting now to support the wellbeing of their people and create mentally healthy businesses. Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence, and mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year.
MHFA training courses teach people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. Training courses will not teach you to be a therapist, but will teach people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis -- and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
Have A Word training courses are created with options to suit a range of timescales and budgets, from mental health awareness sessions to a full Mental Health First Aider qualification. They are all designed to benefit employees, line managers, HR professionals, occupational health workers and senior leaders alike -- to help all your people meet the challenges of the workplace head on.
For further information, visit: www.haveaword.org or email Lucy Hine: firstname.lastname@example.org
To download the CII/Mind report, visit: www.cii.co.uk/69898
Lucy Hine is a MHFA instructor at Have A Word