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Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

An Employer’s Guide

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Whilst there’s no doubt that Mental Health Awareness is now becoming part of the workplace vocabulary, there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of education for businesses.

Not only is there a moral and legal obligation on employers to be informed, there is also a huge financial impact.

This is why we aim to provide guidance for employers regarding:

  • The financial cost of workplace mental health in the UK
  • Your obligation as an employer – Mental Health and the Law
  • How you can make a difference – Mental Health First Aid
  • How we can help you


The financial cost of workplace mental health in the UK

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), on average, people take more time off to deal with mental illness (stress, depression or anxiety) than any other cause and accounted for the majority of days lost due to work-related ill health in 2021/22.

Stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.

The 17 million lost working days equated to an average of 18.6 days lost per case.

The main causes cited were workload pressures; including tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support, often leading to burnout.


Mental Health and the Law

As is often the case, your obligation as an employer isn’t always clear cut, especially as the Law is continuously evolving.  So – it’s important to be informed in order to stay one step ahead.

The UK Government recently published a Draft Mental Health Bill 2022 which, not only outlines extensive changes to Mental Health care, but also appears to be introducing Law that will obligate every business and organisation to provide a form of Mental Health support, which includes Mental Health First Aid.

There are no Laws specifically detailing what a business must do, however, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that an Employer is responsible for minimising and controlling risks to an Employees Health, Safety and Welfare.

It broadly mentions Stress is a major contributor to ill health at work, which is a huge gateway point for many Mental Health conditions. Emergencies caused by Mental Health fall under the remit of First Aid to manage.

The Law also says that First Aid is a Legal requirement in all Workplaces.


Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is the process of delivering emergency support to a person suffering with a crisis in their Mental Health.

Instances of Mental Health emergencies in the workplace are on the rise as we become more aware of the signs and symptoms, in what is often a fast paced, high pressure, stressful environment.

Mental Health First Aid is designed to quickly and competently deal with complex issues, redirect the person to safety and security and reduce the potential for a RIDDOR level injury at work.


How we can help you

With this in mind, we, at Vital Workplace Training Group, have developed a range of tailored, bespoke courses in Mental Health First Aid, applicable to your industry and workforce. We equip your staff to recognise the signs and dangers and be able to support a person in crisis.

We focus on making all of our courses as informed and engaging as possible through practical skills and live engagement, to deliver confidence as well as competence.

If you’d like any further information on our courses, or would like to discuss any aspects of this article, feel free to contact us.

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