The Role Of The Mental Health First Aider

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Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Around 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems throughout their lives. There is a huge number of different mental health conditions that a person can suffer from.

Each will affect our day to day life, determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. If you struggle with your mental health your thinking, mood and behaviour will be affected.

Many factors contribute to mental health including:

  • • Life traumas or experiences
  • • Biological factors such as genes
  • • Family history of mental health problems

One thing that people with mental health problems struggle with is opening up and talking about their feelings and worries. Many people may be unwell for years however on the surface they may appear to be fine. The role of the mental health first aider is to spot the signs and symptoms and offer support to those in need.

First Aid & Mental Health First Aid

If you witnessed somebody who was involved in an accident or had fallen ill, would you want to stand and watch, or know that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to help them? First Aid allows you to act quickly to help those in physical danger.

People with a mental health illness are fighting a completely different battle. However, such illness can still be life-threatening, just like those mentioned above. At TL Training, we know that Mental Health First Aid is just as important as Physical First Aid.

The Role of the Mental Health First Aider

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health. A mental health first aider within the workplace is the go-to person for anyone who is struggling with their mental health. The first aider can work with the individual to offer support as well as signpost them to other organisations or health workers that will be able to help them. The earlier a Mental Health first aider can intervene, the better.

The role of the Mental Health first aider is to provide support to anyone struggling within the workplace, whether it be on a one to one level, or in a group. Though they are not able to offer therapy, they can help someone share the load and open up about their feelings and concerns.

A Mental Health first aider will assess the individual and evaluate how critical their condition is. This will depend on how long the individual has been suffering for and how low they are feeling/what they have been through. In very serious circumstances, the individual may be moving towards self-harm, may have already self-harmed, or may be feeling suicidal. Confidentiality is key throughout the role of a Mental Health first aider however the correct measures must be taken if the first aider feels like the individual’s life or health is at risk.

How Do You Know If Someone May Be Struggling?

We have put together a list of behaviours to look out for in yourself or others.

  • • Disrupted sleep – someone may have trouble sleeping, or be sleeping too much. Do you or your colleagues seem/look tired most or all of the time?
  • • Mood – Do you or your colleagues display low mood or appear to be sad? Do they seem irritable or anxious, have they mentioned that they are feeling worried, or do they appear to be struggling to concentrate?
  • • Isolation – Is someone not taking part in conversations like they usually would? Is someone isolating themselves or have you noticed that they are no longer taking part in their usual routine after work or during the weekends? Does someone’s mind seem to be elsewhere during conversations?
  • • Lack of interest – Have you noticed anyone lacking interest in things they used to enjoy? Do they seem to be not bothered about things they used to care or be passionate about? Do they lack motivation or energy?
  • • Changes in eating habit – Are they experiencing a lack of appetite, or eating more than usual?

What Can You Do To Help Those Who May Need You?

  • • Offer support and remember to be non-judgemental at all times. We never know what is going on in other people’s minds.
  • • Be open about your own mental wellbeing. A problem shared is a problem halved!
  • • Listen to people and be engaged. Show them that you are there for them and offer them advice on what they can do to make themselves feel better.
  • • Help them share the load when dealing with stress. If they are struggling with workload, encourage them to speak to their boss or offer to help them with their work. Give them tip on how they can deal with stress e.g list writing, prioritising, meditation.
  • • Learn the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health and approach those you may think are struggling. If someone is behaving differently, ask them how they are feeling or how you can help.

How Can MFHA Help Your Business?

Embedding MHFA training within your business or organisation encourages people to talk freely about their mental health and reduces the stigma that surrounds it. This will create a more positive culture within the workplace.

The MHFA England have a campaign to help you to ‘Bring your whole self to work’. They believe that “in 2020 we shouldn’t have to leave parts of our identity behind – be that our cultural or ethnic backgrounds, sexuality, or health – when we work. When we’re empowered to be our ‘whole self’ at work we can build deeper connections. This helps us to be more understanding of our colleagues, so we work better together.”

Contact Us

Interested in undertaking one of our Mental Health First Aid Courses in Wirral? Call us today on 0151 343 0588 to learn more. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected] and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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