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How Workplace Mental Health First Aid Training Changed My Life (& How It Could Change Your Workplace)

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to highlight the role of a Mental Health First Aider! The number of people undertaking this training is on the rise, so we thought we’d dive into why we think it’s such an important initiative in the workplace!

What is Mental Health First Aid?


Mental health is a topic that has become more prevalent in our lives, especially over the last couple of years. Given that we spend so much of our lives at work, it makes sense that mental health should be a priority here. 


Over 4 million people worldwide have received training on Mental Health First Aid. At The Happiness Index (THI) several of us have followed courses from Mental Health First Aid England. Their training courses empower people to be able to understand the factors that can influence mental health and recognise the signs of ill mental health not only in the workplace but also in our personal lives. 


In February MHFA launched the ‘My Whole Self’ campaign in February 2022 to encourage employers to create a safe environment for their employees to drop the ‘mask’ that so many wear to work. This really links to what we do! Here at THI we really encourage our whole team to show up as their authentic selves. We call this #FreedomToBeHuman. We value supporting our colleagues through the not so great days and celebrating them on the good days!  


You can find out more about how our platform helps us reveal the masks we wear in the comic our co-founder, Matt, shared during his TEDxBrighton talk. 


Mental Health First Aid in The Workplace


Mental Health First Aiders are trained to act and de-escalate situations surrounding a mental health crisis in the workplace. They can also help provide support to their colleagues around mental health and wellbeing. Typically, courses will teach you to understand what good mental health looks like, how to intervene (including in crises), reassure and signpost to the appropriate support. 


According to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there is consistent evidence that mental health first aid training helps to raise awareness of mental ill health and mental health conditions. This helps us in the fight to destigmatise mental health.


My Experience


In 2021 I undertook the Mental Health First Aid Adult course and became an official Mental Health First Aider. I wanted to be able to have a better understanding of some of the factors that can impact people's mental health, how to manage my own stress better and to learn about some of the most common mental health issues that people face. 


I think it's one of the most important and useful training I’ve done. And that’s including all my school and university education! Having a better understanding of, not only how to help other people, but also myself, has been invaluable. I am now better equipped to manage my stress and to manage the consequences when they come up. 


I use this training every day when I encounter people who need a listening ear. And I can offer help and support to my colleagues around me. 


The most important takeaway for me is that we need to be better equipped to listen to people and understand the language surrounding mental health. That way we can understand and hopefully prevent mental ill health by pre-emptively noticing factors that contribute to it.


Where do we go From Here?


This really resonates with us here at THI, because as you can tell by our name, happiness is important to us. We believe you can create a thriving performance culture by understanding how your people think, feel and behave. In fact, why don't you browse our wellbeing blog posts for some tips and examples of the things we do to help make workplace wellbeing a priority.


Workplace training isn't enough on its own! Have a look at this handy guide with our 10 Top Tips for Mental Wellbeing at Work! 


Our number one top tip is that it’s key to understand what your people need and want by listening to them! In order to make sure you’re moving in the right direction, measuring and benchmarking how your people are thinking and feeling is key. That’s where our Mental Health workplace pre-built survey comes in! This tool will help you to gain an insight into how your employees are feeling and provide you with data and analysis so you can go forward and make real positive change.

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Kashi Chellen

"Kashi loves cats but especially her fluffball (Commodore Fluffy Paws), perfectly ripe strawberries and Ainsley Harriott."

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