People sitting in a circle as one delivers training

It is a legal requirement to have first-aiders in the workplace – so why not have mental health first-aiders, too?

Public awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing is growing and in an increasingly demanding work culture, many UK workplaces are beginning to recognise the need to invest in supporting employee mental health. With the Mental Health Foundation concluding that workplaces have a responsibility to improve wellbeing, organisations must find effective ways to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their employees to prevent the onset of mental health problems and support good mental health for all.

How common are mental health problems?

Creating a supportive workplace culture has never been more important for organisations, with one in six working-age adults in the UK now experiencing symptoms associated with mental ill-health in a given week.

According to mental health charity, Mind, one in four people will suffer from a mental health problem each year.

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), show that absence from work for mental health reasons equates to 57.3% of all absences and cost UK employers £34.9 billion last year.

Sectors most at risk

One of the sectors most at risk of mental ill-health in the workplace is education. Education professionals are faced with many challenges causing growing pressure in the workplace, including increased workload, lack of support, budget cuts, less staff and pressure to meet the high standards set by governing bodies.

According to last year’s Teachers Wellbeing Index, 75% of all education staff have faced physical or mental health issues in the last two years because of their work, whilst a recent study from the Liberal Democrats revealed that a total of 1.3 million sick days were taken by teachers for stress and mental health reasons in the last 4 years.

Mental ill-health is also a common problem in the care sector, with 86% of healthcare workers advising the healthcare industry needs to do more to support the mental health of their staff and over a third have said that their mental health has deteriorated as a direct result of their job.

What can employers do to protect the wellbeing of their employees

In an increasingly demanding work culture, it is so important for organisations to invest in improving the mental health of their staff. By integrating wellness into workplace cultures, organisations of all shapes and sizes can create a positive environment where staff feel supported.

Offering those in leadership roles awareness training is a simple, long term solution to provide staff with the knowledge to spot signs of mental ill-health as well as equipping them with the skills to do something about it. Equally, providing a mental health first aid course for the entire team can help to breakdown the stigmas associated with mental ill-health and improve each employee’s mindset.

Cantium Business Solutions work with Mental Health First Aid England to provide comprehensive training on how to support mental health in the workplace, whether it’s for a designated ‘Mental Health First Aider’ in your organisation or onsite training for up to 15 staff, we can design a tailored training solution to fit your organisational needs.