Mental Health First Aider: Are You One?

You have noticed that Mark, a long-term employee hasn’t quite been himself lately. His jovial demeanour has diminished, there has been tension between him and some of his colleagues. His work performance is deteriorating and he has been calling in sick more often than usual.

As his trusted colleague, how confident are you to reach out to Mark and address these noticeable changes? What if you knew that Mark was in the middle of a divorce proceeding, hadn’t seen his kids in weeks and was feeling hopeless about his future? Would you reach out then?

Far too often we see signs and symptoms but unfortunately for many of us we are unsure of how to approach the situation and offer help. We recognise the change in behaviour but we don’t know what to do next to help Mark.

If Mark had turned up to work on a Monday morning, limping and complaining of knee pain, it would be easy to recognise the reason for his altered walking pattern and assist in providing the appropriate management, perhaps in the form of physical first aid. Unlike physical health problems, mental health problems can be subtle and difficult to recognise and so treatment is delayed, often causing the problem to worsen or become an emerging crisis.

With 1 in 5 Australians experiencing mental illness in any one year, there is an overwhelming need for workplaces (and society) to prioritise the mental health of the employees in their organisations and the first step is to create awareness.

What Is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognised, evidence-based training program that teaches members of the public how to help a person developing a mental health problem (including a substance use problem), experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Like traditional first aid, Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to treat or diagnose mental health or substance use conditions. Instead, the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program gives people the skills to have the conversation with someone that they’re concerned about and assist them until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis resolves.

I Am One, Be One Too

A Mental Health First Aider is an integral part of developing a positive work environment that supports and encourages mental health in the workplace. As well as enhancing workplace culture, it provides a channel for effective communication by appointing one or more dedicated resources as first responders, skilled to support employees dealing with mental health issues. With over 500,000 people trained in Mental Health First Aid in Australia and 2 million globally[2] , there are just as many inspirational stories about how MHFA has changed lives, both inside and outside the workplace.

Support Better Mental Health at Work

Bodycare Workplace Solutions offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training run by accredited instructors. By the end of the 2-day course, you will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Recognise signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses
  • Identify risk factors and causes of common mental health problems
  • Offer help to someone showing the signs and symptoms of a developing mental health problem or a mental health crisis

The Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplaces Initiative

Workplaces who have trained a minimum percentage of their workforce in MHFA are eligible to apply to be publicly recognised as a Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace. Eligible workplaces receive recognition by receiving a custom electronic badge valid for 12 months which can be displayed on their website and publications. MHFA Australia also publicly acknowledge skilled workplaces on the MHFA Australia website, social media, Annual Report, and newsletters.

Read more info about the initiative

Would your workplace benefit from having a Mental Health First Aider on board?

Book a MHFA training course or for more information.