'Where’s Your Head At?' – is a campaign calling for first aid regulations to be amended to ensure that provision is made for both mental, as well as physical, first aid in the workplace.
“Those employers that ignore the issue, or who undermine the mental health of their staff, risk not only the health of the people who work for them but the wealth of their business and the health of the economy as a whole. “
Sarah Hughes CEO Centre for Mental Health
If successful, this change in law would mean that millions of working people have access to mental health first aiders, as they currently do for physical first aiders.
Tomorrow, the 17th January 2019, this campaign is debated in the house of commons, and we take another step towards parity for mental and physical health.
When I’ve run teams it was always an important part of our health and safety strategy that we had a nominated first aider. They were know to their peers and we checked we had a fully stocked, and accessible, first aid box.
I’m not denigrating the role of the physical first aider, but, in all the years i’ve been in the high risk substance misuse environment I can only remember a first aider being used three or fours times. Physical injury is thankfully rare.
Apply the same to mental health in the high octane, high paced, treatment system, and I assure you the skills of a mental health first aid staff member would have been invaluable.
Anxiety and stress are common place in just about every working environment today.
Just stand in line at a burger restaurant and watch he team members screaming around trying to fill orders within our ‘must have’ time windows, or the checkout person with massive queues in the supermarket or the office worker who believes, often wrongly, that if they don’t deliver at 120% they’re toast.
Delivery drivers, firemen, paramedics, CEO’s, call centre operatives, retail staff ad infinitum, all suffer from the ‘must do more for less’ illnesses of stress and anxiety.
Many staff have reactive depression or are suffering from grief through death or divorce.
All of these people - in fact ALL of us - have mental health, and at some point it will not be the best. Mental Health First Aid training skills mean :
- Feel confident helping someone experiencing a problem.
- Spot the early signs of a mental health problem.
- Provide help on a first-aid basis.
- Help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others.
- Help stop a mental illness from getting worse.
- Help someone recover faster.
- Guide someone towards the right support.
- Reduce the stigma of mental health problems.
You don’t have to wait for the Government to stick to their manifesto promise of parity for physical and mental health first aid, you can book your team member onto a course today, and bring better mental health into your workplace.