Mental Health First Aid - A Lasting Solution, Quick fix or Simply an Awareness Tool?

Updated: Oct 6, 2018

As Mental Health First Aid becomes a part of corporate language, we at Rotundus have been delving into the facts behind the course. Not because we want to discredit the movement, but because we were looking to offer the training as a service ourselves. Instead, we have developed a more comprehensive, pro-active workshop for the workplace for reasons I’ll explain below.

Any heightened awareness of mental health issues in the workplace is something we are behind, but spending large amounts of money on awareness, rather than addressing issues is something we aren’t behind.

Tens of thousands of employees have been trained across the UK in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) at a cost of anywhere between £150 and £400 per person and £1500 - £3000 as a trainer. Employers we have spoken to are under the impression that members of their staff are now fully trained to identify and deal with (to an extent) colleagues who are suffering from problems while at work.

The Health and Safety Executive recently reviewed Mental Health First Aid - which stated that it is a great awareness tool, but there is no evidence that it is helping those who are experiencing mental ill-health.

Is This Really First Aid?

There are three main priorities for physical first aid:

  • Preserve life

  • Prevent injuries getting worse

  • Promote recovery

It is true that MHFA is making more people aware of mental ill-health, identifying signs and reducing stigma but is it doing similar to physical first aid? Does it help to preserve life, prevent people from getting worse or help them to recover?

Or is it simply advising people to join the end of the very long waiting list with the NHS?

The NHS TARGET time for assessment is 6 weeks and 18 weeks, which we have found usually runs closer to 20+ weeks. Surely training people in MHFA will help support people in that time lag between identification and treatment?

The way the MHFA works is that it helps people to identify when others may be suffering mental ill-health, helps them to have a conversation and suggest contacting their GP. This timescale could be a life and death matter, considering the very real risk of suicide during the time lag between identification and treatment. In 2017 there was 112 recorded suicides each week - 84 men and 28 women.

Surely, helping those identified as suffering with simple and effective coping strategies that can start working straight away would be an obvious inclusion in any workplace training?

We think so. We have developed a programme that gives practical and real coping techniques that are used by those who are suffering anxiety, negative thinking and depression on a daily basis and is keeping them at bay, if not completely away during the time that suffering employees are waiting for professional help.

Why should employers be interested in finding practical ways to help their employees?

The estimated cost to UK businesses directly related to mental ill health is £34 BILLION per year. This is not taking into account the cost of the many physical illnesses brought about by mental health problems.

By increasing employees’ self esteem, self worth and control over their lives and thinking, you will not only be helping to reduce suicide rates and costs to the NHS, but you will be improving your bottom line.

We are on a mission to introduce actionable programmes into workplaces using materials and methods already proven to have saved public services thousands of pounds in absenteeism by simply helping staff working in highly stressful environments to cope with their work and home lives.

If you are interested in setting up a truly helpful and supportive environment which really does provide ‘First Aid’for valuable members of your staff, please contact us to discuss your requirements. From on site, tailored training to training in a group at our premises, we will have a solution that will make a difference to your staff and your business.

It's time to GO BEYOND the theory and do the practical - there is no point in just reading about CPR you need to know how to do it for real.


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