Why Mental Health First Aid

Firstly we all have a brain, so we all have mental health. When we have good mental health, we are thinking and feeling well. No one is immune from episodes of ill-health.

When an employee has a health emergency, such as asthma or an angina attack the trained first aiders in your company can respond and deal with the crisis appropriately.

Companies now need to know how to response if an employee has poor mental health or in a crisis. This could range from severe anxiety to a panic attack. Ultimately the employee is experiencing discomfort and distress this is where the mental health first aider steps in.

Mental health issues are common
Mental Health issues especially depression and anxiety are very common, roughly one person in four experiences some form of mental ill-health over the course of a year.  Using that statistic, there will be colleagues in your workplace struggling with mental ill-health.

The consequences of poor mental health can be fatal
In the UK during 2014 there were 1,775 deaths from road traffic accidents and 6,122 suicides. Most suicides are entirely avoidable.

Breaking the taboo about mental health.
During the Mental Health First Aid course, we learn why people have poor mental health and how they can receive help. Many people delay getting help because of the stigma associated with mental health. Mental health first aiders play an important role in reshaping the way people view mental health in the workplace and offer a safe place for people to ‘dare to share’.

Inadequate or delayed treatment
Mental health first aiders are trained to see behaviours that may indicate a person who requires support. This will help reduce the delay in getting support and professional help at the time when it is most effective.

People with mental ill-health don’t always know how to get help
Some mental health issues can affect clear and ethical decision making. A person experiencing such difficulties may not realise that they need help, or that effective support is available. They may be in such a state of distress that they are unable to think clearly about what they should do. Mental health first aiders steer sufferers towards the most appropriate help.

We don’t always know what to say or do so it is easier to do nothing
In a mental health crisis, lots of us would struggle to understand what to do. In mental health first aid, we learn some simple things we can do to keep everyone safe and get the best help. There is an easy to remember action plan to put into play to provide guidance, support and comfort.

Finally
We need to know how we can keep ourselves mentally healthy.

Sources:

ONS – Suicides in the UK: 2014 registrations

Mental Health First Aid England