Do Businesses Need Mental Health First Aiders?


The majority of businesses will have at least one fully first-aid trained member of staff. For larger organisations, it can be worth organising regular emergency first aid at work courses in the UK.

However, it seems that this could move one step further, with a petition set to be handed into Downing Street calling for the Health and Safety at Work Act to be updated to ensure that businesses provide mental health first aiders as well as medical first aiders to their staff.

Chronicle Live reported on the proposals, with the petition from Change.org having already garnered 200,000 signatures.

Natasha Devon, who launched the petition, explained that mental wellbeing is often neglected in workplaces, with people expected to “soldier on when we are struggling with mental illness in a way we never would if we had flu or a broken leg”.

Ms Devon argues that by identifying mental health problems earlier, it’s easier to find ways to cope and prevent them from spiralling out of control.

With World Mental Health Day falling in October, there’s no better time to start thinking about your employees’ mental health and how you could help them.

An article for the Huffington Post revealed that 18 per cent of all NHS spending each year is accounted for by mental health conditions. Community, a trade union that represents workers across every sector, stressed that businesses need to take responsibility and find ways to help tackle the problem.

It stated that this is about more than offering counselling services, but about making workplaces into supportive environments where people know they can ask for help and receive it.

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