How Mental Health First Aid training can benefit your clients, your employees, and you

 In Practice Management

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Wellbeing in the Workplace

Wellbeing in the workplaceLast week was Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May 2017).  You may have seen it promoted online and in print and yet you might still be thinking “I can increase my awareness but what is the relevance to me and what can I do to help myself or others?”  We can all identify with the stress that can result from heavy workloads, demanding clients and office politics. Many of us can also probably relate to feeling uneasy about talking openly about how we are feeling, how well we are coping, and might worry about the implications of speaking up.

And yet, the NHS suggest that 1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental health issue in our lifetime and in their recent Take 10 Together campaign, Mental Health First Aid England cite that almost a third of staff said they would consider leaving their current role within the next 12 months if stress levels in their organisation did not improve.[1] Poor mental health also costs big money – issues such as stress, depression and anxiety account for almost 70 million days off sick per year, the most of any health condition, costing the UK economy between £70-£100 billion per year.[2] Even if we put the statistics to one side, the reality is that in the same way that we all have physical health which can deteriorate and/or improve over time, so too do we all have mental health which can vary and change over the course of our lives and careers.

So, what can be done about this? Well, understanding your own wellbeing is a good start. For example, identifying what helps you de-stress and switch off and developing the habit of doing this regularly (known in some circles as “the happiness hour!”) is known to increase resilience and promote good mental health. Encouraging a culture which takes stress seriously and where managers and employees recognise the importance and benefits of talking about mental health can also help. So too can attending training and this is where the Mental Health First Aid course can assist you.

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Mental Health First Aid training is a two-day course designed and owned by community interest company, MHFA England.  They also train and quality-assure MHFA instructors to deliver their courses in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. The course covers a range of topics such as anxiety, depression, suicidal crisis, eating disorders and recovery. However, MHFA training is much more than information sharing and is designed to increase your confidence and ability in spotting signs and symptoms of possible poor mental health as well as increasing your understanding about how to effectively manage a conversation about someone’s mental health and wellbeing. Another benefit of attending the course is having a better awareness of your own mental health and how to keep well. So not only might your employees and clients benefit from your attendance at Mental Health First Aid training, so too might you. Those of you working in HR, in a firm’s Court of Protection team, or with vulnerable groups such as Solicitors for the Elderly, may be particularly interested in attending a course but anyone who interacts with other people as part of their work stands to gain from having a better understanding of mental health and increased confidence in how to manage a conversation about wellbeing.

At EvansLewis, we run MHFA training both as standalone two day courses or on a modular basis over four half-day sessions. MHFA England require a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 16 participants and everyone who attends receives a certificate directly from the company. If you would be interested in finding out more please contact Ben Evans, Partner and Founder of EvansLewis, on ben@evanslewis.co.uk or download more info –  Mental Health First Aid course.

[1] Source NHS Choices – nhs.uk/Livewell/mentalhealth/Pages/Mentalhealthhome.aspx and mhfaengland.org/take-10-together-toolkit (both accessed 11th May 2017)

[2] Source – 10 Reasons Every Employer Should Invest in Staff Mental Health (accessed on the MHFA England website 11th May 2017)

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