Mental Health First Aid: What is it and why is it important?

Mental Health First Aid: What is it, and why is it important?

Many workplaces have made impressive progress in employee mental health and wellbeing, although there is still a considerable amount to be done in some sectors. In 2018, the Health and Safety Executive recommended that employers consider covering Mental Health First Aid and Physical First Aid. In March 2021, Dean Russell presented to the House of Commons that Mental Health First Aid should become a legal requirement for businesses just as physical first aid is. This is currently awaiting a second reading.

With early intervention, people can recover quicker from mental health conditions. This is, of course, what every person deserves. It also has financial benefits to employers. Over 17.5 million days are lost a year to mental health-related sickness absence; this has implications for businesses. Over half of all working days lost to ill health are attributable to mental ill-health.  Deloitte found that for every £1.00 that is spent on mental health interventions, employers save £5.00 on average.  Mental health costs in the UK have risen 16% in four years, and Deloitte estimated this to cost employers in the UK £45 billion each year.

What is it?

Mental Health First Aid is:

MHFA England

  • Spotting the signs of common mental health conditions, such as Depression and Generalised Anxiety
  • Offering and providing non-judgmental listening and support
  • Encouraging and guiding a person towards professional and other support

What does it involve?

Attending an approved Mental Health First Aid England course can be done online or in-person. Many companies, such as Severn Wellness can also provide closed courses within organisations to employees.

Attendees of the MHFA England course will have:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix
  • A comprehensive manual of course content and organisations to signpost to

Mental health is just one part of wellbeing, and it is essential to embed this into the organisational culture and consider how to embed Mental Health First Aid into the workplace. Severn Wellness can provide support and information on how to do this.

For more information, get in touch with Severn Wellness today


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