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World Mental Health Day 2023: Mental Health is a Universal Right

10th October 2023

LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace training

World Mental Health Day is held on 10 October each year. This year’s theme is ‘Mental health is a universal right’. The aim of this day is to increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing, and publicise that mental wellbeing is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.

In the current climate, many individuals are facing difficult challenges and are struggling to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life. This can have an adverse effect on mental wellbeing. Without help and support, individuals are at risk of spiralling into a mental health crisis which can have a negative effect on personal life and work performance.

1 in 4 individuals will face a mental health challenge in their lifetime and an estimated 14.7% of employees are experiencing mental health issues in the workplace. Mental ill-health contributes to 72 million absence days each year, and research also shows that poor productivity due to mental ill-health can cost businesses as much as £34.9 billion a year. In fact, poor mental health has been found to cost an estimated £1,300 per employee when their mental health needs are not adequately supported, due in large part to both presenteeism and poor productivity.

Research has indicated that the introduction and training of workplace Mental Health First Aiders can lead to a reduction of these costs by as much as 30%.

Investing in Mental Health First Aid is a cost-effective, proactive and preventative approach to support employees mental and emotional wellbeing.

The role of a Mental Health First Aider

Physical first aiders are essential in the workplace – so doesn’t it make sense to have mental health first aiders too?

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) are employees who undertake specific training in order to provide support to colleagues who may be facing any mental health challenges.

MHFAs are trained to reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill-health by promoting awareness; driving open conversations, recognising the early signs and symptoms of various mental health conditions, offering a non-judgemental and empathetic listening ear or wellbeing information and resources, and signposting to relevant internal and external services to help support colleagues thrive emotionally and physically. What’s more, MHFAs are trained to recognise when to call emergency services in the case of an emergency situation.

Their timely response can make a difference to someone’s life, whether that’s a colleague experiencing distress, silently struggling or is in crisis. In any business, MHFAs play a vital role in building a workplace environment where employee mental wellbeing is valued just as much as physical health. Importantly, MHFAs are also trained in safeguarding their own mental health and wellbeing in order to support others. These skills not only support the workplace but also extend out to family and the community.

So how do I become a Mental Health First Aider?

Mental Health First Aid England are aiming to improve mental health by training 1 in 10 people in Mental Health First Aid training.

We at Health@Work can support you to make a pledge on World Mental Health Day. Raising awareness of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental ill-health can help create a compassionate and inclusive workplace environment where everyone can enjoy their fundamental right to positive mental health.

Our 2-day MHFA England training course will train your nominated employee/s to be a point of contact for employees who are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress, as well as promoting a greater understanding of the importance of mental health and end the stigma and discrimination around mental health in the workplace.

If you are an employer or HR professional, explore possible funding opportunities to nominate and train MHFAs. If you are an employee, approach your line manager and advise of your interest and seek possible funding opportunities from your employer.

Once trained, it is imperative to promote your MHFAs in the workplace ensure they are highlighted during employee onboarding, display their details and availability on your intranet, wellbeing platforms and notice boards. to ensure employees facing any challenges can access help and support.

Find out more about our Mental Health First Aider training opportunities at our website, or call us direct on 0151 236 6608.

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