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World Mental Health Day

Mental Health is a Universal Human Right

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Tuesday 10th Oct 2023 marks the advent of World Mental Health Day, celebrated across the globe. First celebrated in 1992, the day is aimed at raising awareness of Mental Health conditions and the practices of treating them.

As we look at the theme this year, which is Mental Health is a Universal Human Right, we remember that there are some crucial questions to ask.

How can we reduce the amount of Mental Health Cases?

People are opening up to the concern of Mental Health, and how it can affect our lives. This has led to an influx of diagnosed illnesses, which then are receiving treatment. I don’t believe this is an issue: a true reflection of our work in Mental Health is how many cases we have uncovered.

The risk is that the rising trend continues, we should now see them beginning to fall. It requires a bit of patience.

Are the changes in Law going to make a difference?

The Draft Mental Health Bill 2022 is designed mainly to minimise Mental Health patients or those vulnerable from being wrongly held under the Mental Health Act 1983.

However, as more and more cases are being linked to the stresses and demands of the Workplace, the Law aims to make Employers responsible for the Mental Health emergencies caused by the Workplace. This means that the changes proposed will also include additional Mindfulness practices, enhanced provision for peoples’ expression in emotional, social and spiritual affairs and, quite critically, the provision of Mental Health First Aid as part of the First Aid response.

Do I need to provide Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace?

Mental Health First Aid contains learning that helps Employers and Employees to understand the causes, triggers and effects of poor Mental Health, and what effects they have on the Workplace. This learning will be vital in slowing the damage of countless days off sick that poor Mental Health, as Employers can pre-empt concerns before they arise.

It has also been noted that a Mental Health emergency can be very scary and traumatic to deal with. The case is, with effective training and support, people can make a significant difference in the emergency.

Much of the concern revolves around the illusion that, in order to help someone, you must become vulnerable by talking about your own problems. The entire focus of a good Mental Health First Aid training is that the responder remains as safe as possible. Should the risk arise that the responder becomes vulnerable, the processes are very clear to protect them from harm.

Do we all have to talk about our feelings at work?

The chances are very high that we already do. Why not create a safe environment for us to unpack stress based Workplace issue?

What we can do to promote good Mental Health at Work

There are several ways we can create positive Mental Health in the Workplace, however we need to focus on the emergency actions first. Similar to First Aid, sometimes we have no option but to fix it once it has gone wrong.

The reason we should place resources here is that, when we know we can deal with the worst scenarios, people feel safe. Safe people take steps to improve their own situation, feeling there is a way to deal with it instead of the worst case.

Put simply, the need for Mental Health First Aid is the most crucial tool we have to reverse poor Mental Health in Workplaces.

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