With the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week (running 9-15th May 2022) upon us, it is good to see the topic getting renewed effort and exposure from both businesses and individuals. This year’s theme is ‘loneliness’ and it’s a matter close to our hearts, as you can read about in our previous work with Friend in Deed, a charity tackling loneliness in the elderly community by promoting intergenerational friendships and activities.
Initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Week are important for galvanising the conversation once a year, but we understand that the subject needs year-long attention, and real action beyond the 7-day focus, which is why one of our directors recently undertook training to become a Mental Health First Aider.
Health and safety in the workplace is not an alien concept to any business, with risk assessments, fire marshalling, occupational health teams and first aiders all commonplace in companies, but it is less common to focus on how mental health can be understood and improved in the workplace.
We all have factors that affect our mental health, whether at home, at work – or as we’ve more recently experienced – what is happening in the wider world with situations like the pandemic, or the financial pressures of rising household bills.
TRAINING WITH MHFA (MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID) ENGLAND
Director, Kim Carter enrolled with MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) England, a social enterprise who are on a mission to “train one in ten people in mental health awareness and skills.” The organisation delivers their course through a framework of ‘Prevention’, ‘Early Intervention’ and ‘Signposting to Support’; these three stages allow for the recognition of the varying levels of support each individual may need at the time, and an understanding that being able to recognise signs of poor or diminishing mental health early on may reduce the need for more significant intervention later on. Following training, Kim was awarded a certificate, verifying her status as Mental Health First Aider.
There is a lesson to us all in the course, too: just like we are told to apply the oxygen mask to ourselves before helping others on an aeroplane, the MHFA promote self-care as one of the greatest ways of being able to offer support to others, both in terms of building understanding but also resilience to be able to help those around you. We hope that we can continue to promote the importance of treating mental health with as much attention and urgency as physical health within our own team.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
If you’re interested in undertaking mental health first aid training for yourself or your staff, please visit the MHFA website for more information on how to book an online or face-to-face course.