How can having a Mental Health First Aider on your team help with living and working in unprecedented times?
Whatever our individual experience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many people around us continue to feel anxious and stressed. Whether it’s worries about social distancing, the economy, caring responsibilities, home schooling, new working environments, health fears or finances – the list of concerns seems endless at the moment.
The world has had to adapt quickly. The way we work, our social lives and our personal lives have all changed and this has led to increased anxiety and stress – which can severely impact mental health.
Whilst there are many things that employers can, and are doing to alleviate some of those pressures, encouraging people to look after themselves is vital. This is because the pandemic has caused mental ill-health to increase; additionally, those who already faced challenges with their mental wellbeing are finding their issues are being heightened. There are many examples of this such as the impact of isolation and social distancing rules on those who are dealing with depression, and in many cases leading to further anxieties and stress.
Whether your business is encouraging staff to continue working from home, or you’re safely bringing staff back to the workplace, it’s easy to see ways in which mental health can be impacted by the current situation. From worries about using public transport, to fears that long-term remote working may cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Supporting your staff – Mental Health First Aiders
While individuals must assume some responsibility for their own wellbeing, employers have a duty of care to support and guide people effectively. This is why having a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) in your organisation can really help. MHFAs are taught the practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and gain confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress.
Furthermore, having a MHFA in an organisation can help boost productivity and performance, as well as reducing sickness rates and creating a caring environment for your staff. It also helps to break the stigma around mental health and normalise conversations about mental wellbeing.
David Vaughan from Recovery Works talks about how having MHFAs has been crucial in supporting their staff during the pandemic.
“The knowledge and tools gained by my staff who attended Growth Company’s MHFA training has given them a greater awareness of how their roles can impact on someone’s mental health.
Whilst we have always considered mental health to be an important factor when supporting people in a social care setting, the MHFA course helped to clarify and confirm the consequences of failing to consider an individual's mental health. This has become especially relevant since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic/lockdown in helping us to better understand service users’ mental health, the knowledge to give the correct advice, and when and how to access additional support.
Many people understandably feel extremely isolated and the MHFA training has reinforced the importance of helping them remain connected through continued learning, volunteering and the routine that finding work can bring.”
Get in touch
For more information, or to book on to one of our courses, please visit https://leading-well.uk/. Alternatively, contact us on 0161 237 4200 or email email@example.com. The Growth Company has also developed a Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources Pack providing information on how the pandemic may affect mental health along with advice and guidance on how to best manage this during these challenging times.
Alex Elmywood, Commercial Director, Organisational Improvement Team
With over eighteen years experience of delivering organisational improvement and commercial strategy, Alex has devoted her career to creating happy, healthy and sustainable organisations where people can thrive.
"I consider my job as a great privilege. Not only do we actively help organisations understand their potential but we help them realise it too".
Alex has also held senior positions at Investors in People UK, Investors in People Scotland and the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES).
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