Why every business needs a Mental Health First Aider

Fully funded MHFA training. Before preparing for another day of Zoom calls, it’s well worth having a read of this article. We’re offering you access to an online training programme that will help change the lives of everyone in your organisation, without costing you a penny.

As part of a fully funded NHS programme, we’ll train your team to spot when colleagues might be struggling with their mental health. We’ll also help you to promote positive wellbeing and encourage your team to talk about how they feel. In doing so, they will feel happier, be more engaged and productive.

Why talk about mental health?

Last month’s Heads Up FA Cup Final allowed conversations about mental health to share centre stage with Arsenal and Chelsea. In Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent, it’s vital that we talk about one subject in particular: suicide. Tragically, this region has one of the highest suicide rates in the UK. Between 2012 and 2016, 384 of our neighbours, loved ones and friends took their own lives.

In response to this awful statistic, the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Suicide Prevention Steering Group was formed. Comprising Staffordshire County Council (SCC), Stoke on Trent City Council (SOTCC), Clinical Commissioning Groups, other medical experts, community leaders and a range of public sector representatives: this group is dedicated to addressing the root causes of mental ill health behind this suicide rate.

Together with the NHS, they asked mental health in the workplace specialists Altruist Enterprises to train the region’s employers and HR teams in Mental Health First Aid. Creating a safe environment for your staff to talk about how they are feeling will save lives.

What does a Mental Health First Aider do?

Mental Health First Aiders provide crucial help to any employees who might be struggling with their mental health, in the same way as a physical first aider would.

Imagine a colleague turns up to work with a broken arm. Would you tell them that everything will be OK in the morning and then ask them to drive a lorry using their injured arm? Of course, you wouldn’t!

So why not take the same approach if people come to you in deep emotional distress?

Mental Health First Aid training enables your employees to improve their listening skills and provide a non-judgemental, reassuring environment for colleagues to discuss their experiences. This training also equips Mental Health First Aiders with the knowledge they need to assess the situation and signpost any colleagues who may be in distress to appropriate support in a timely manner.

Covid-19 has made Mental Health First Aid more important than ever before

When people aren’t coming to work every day, it becomes even more difficult than usual to spot changes in their behaviour. For example, if someone who was regularly punctual started arriving late, or someone who usually dressed well started neglecting themselves, their colleagues might suspect that something was wrong before a Mental Health First Aider got involved.

By contrast, when people are working from home, you don’t know if they’re putting on a mask for Zoom meetings to hide what they’re dealing with in between calls from the rest of the team. How do you know that they’re not drinking more than usual or gambling problematically to try to cope with the increased stresses that they’re facing? How do you know that the lockdown hasn’t pushed their relationships to the brink? Our course will train you to ask the questions that make your colleagues feel comfortable opening up to you about any difficulties that they’ve been facing during the lockdown.

In reassuring them that they are not alone and that it’s okay to feel how they are feeling, you’ll go a long way to removing any stigma they may be experiencing.

What skills will you gain from the programme?

After completing our course, you will be able to:

  • Create an open forum where mental health can be discussed without judgement
  • Spot the early signs of mental health issues before they become crises
  • Step in and reassure colleagues who are experiencing emotional distress
  • Signpost someone to resources and organisations who can help them get back to being their usual selves as quickly as possible
  • Create a long-lasting positive wellbeing culture within your business

How do we deliver the training?

The training will be delivered online, allowing delegates to access our course from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re staying safe at home, you’ve decided to eat out to help out, or you’ve ventured abroad; you can benefit from our experts’ knowledge.

Over four manageable sessions (no longer than 150 minutes each), you’ll learn everything you need to know to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider. At the end of the course, you’ll receive your official certificate as a Mental Health First Aider, alongside a range of resources and an MHFA badge for your email signature. Have a look at the full course content here.

What do delegates think of our training?

Delegates working in an enormous range of both office and site-based roles have found our training interesting, engaging and immensely profitable for their businesses. The marketing Manager for Direct Air and Pipework, Emma Dolby was kind enough to leave us the following testimonial:

I feel very humbled to have completed a 2-day Mental Health First Aider training course. It was so enlightening and gave me so many practical takeaways for both professional and personal use. I can’t wait to implement what I’ve learned.”

If you are a Staffordshire or Stoke on Trent-based SME operating within the Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics, Construction or Labour industries, then you may be eligible for this free training. Why not see why some of the region’s most successful businesses trust us to help them look after their people’s wellbeing?

Email info@altruistuk.com or call 0121 271 0550 to express an interest in one of our few remaining places on this training. Programmes start in September so get in touch now to avoid disappointment.

Katie attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy where she set up Altruist in 2013. Since then, Katie has won various awards including Birmingham Mail's Young Achiever of the Year 2017, New Entrepreneurs Foundation 'Future Face of Business' and Entrepreneurial Spark's 'Most Accelerated Business'. She has also been a finalist in nine other award categories and in 2014, Katie was invited to attend the prestigious 'Women of the Year Lunch' in honour of her work raising awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

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