First Aid for Mental Health

What is First Aid for Mental Health

We are all familiar with the concept of First aiders in the workplace. They are trained to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work and to call the emergency services when required.

Following the independent review for the Government, titled ‘Thriving at Work’ in October 2017, Paul Farmer and Lord Dennis Stevenson highlighted that the Mental Health and wellbeing of employees was one of the key areas that needed to be addressed to keep people safe at work. 

This report led to a review by the Health and Safety Executive under Mental health conditions, work, and the workplace and the introduction of First Aid for Mental Health.

A qualified first aider for Mental Health provides the initial support for anyone experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress in the workplace. They are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of a range of mental health conditions and provide first aid as required. It may be enough to start a conversation and offer advice on strategies or to signpost places to seek support. In more challenging events, they will be available until professional help can be sought.  

The role of the first aider for mental health is not to become therapists or counsellors, nor do they diagnose mental health conditions.  Aside from the practical role, having a first aider for mental health sends out a clear message that there is a caring, supportive culture within the work environment. It signals that we don’t always feel our best and that’s ok.