At any given time, across England and Wales, one in six workers is said to be experiencing depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is designed to teach how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.
To help address mental ill health needs within SOCOTEC UK, three members of the HR team have recently undergone MHFA training, helping them to recognise crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support.
Kim Chapman, HR business partner explained: “According to the HSE, in 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health. Our role as a MHFA is not to make a medical diagnosis, but to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help. We are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists, but we can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.”
Ian Sparks, CEO, SOCOTEC UK, said: “Although things are improving, stigma still exists around mental ill health. As a society, we don't tend to know how to take care of our mental health like we do our physical health. As a responsible employer it is important to us to support those employees who may be suffering with mental ill health, in the same way as we support those who are suffering with a physical illness. Recognising mental ill health and providing training to help those affected will encourage us to talk freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture throughout the business.”