Each year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness.
As we all strive toward a COVID-19 recovery, there has been an increased spotlight in the media on the importance of mental health and wellbeing and the impact that the pandemic is having on our overall physical and emotional health. For some, the restrictions imposed by the Government and qualified Health Officials have given a sense of strength, gratitude and resilience, allowing individuals and businesses alike to develop new ways of working, staying in meaningful employment and strengthening relationships by staying connected.
For a minority however, the pandemic has promoted mental health problems such as isolation, loneliness, anxiety and even exposed some to an increased risk of domestic violence. For small business, the anxiety and uncertainty over an economic downturn and stress of ensuring employee retention has been significant and led to an increase in the number of reported referrals to internal initiatives such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
The Australian Government has made significant investments in mental health and suicide prevention prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued to do so as part of Australia’s evolving response, with an estimated additional $500 million having been channeled into mental health services so far this year. The advocacy for mental health awareness in the workplace from Executive Managers, Supervisors and Work Health & Safety Officers has proven fundamental to the way employees perceive mental health problems and has promoted positive developments including an increase in the number of employees reaching out and seeking support services in the workplace.
As safety management systems and injury management programs champion the case for positive mental health and wellbeing strategies, we are seeing strong evidence based results for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) as a best practice support for someone experiencing a mental health crisis, having a panic attack, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or going through a prolonged rough patch. The Standard MHFA course teaches people how to provide initial support to other adults who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidence-based Action Plan.
As part of building a mentally healthy workplace, many industries and organisations are making Mental Health First Aid Officers a workplace requirement.
Here are our top 4 reasons to complete Mental Health First Aid Training:
1. MHFA gives an improved knowledge of mental illnesses, their treatments and appropriate first aid strategies across a range of contexts.
2. You’ll gain confidence in providing first aid to a person experiencing a mental health problem both within the workplace and broader community.
3. Implementing MHFA across your organisation can lead to a decrease in stigmatizing attitudes and judgement across your workforce.
4. MHFA skills when applied to the workplace, can assist in building a positive workplace culture and encourage support seeking and breakdown of barriers.
Appointing Mental Health First Aid Officers (MHFAOs) in your workplace is a positive way to demonstrate that your business cares about individual health and well-being and the lifesaving skills that the training provides complements formal support services, like Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
To find out more about completing Mental Health First Aid Training, check out our short course page or contact our accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor about delivering private courses to your workforce.
Mental Health First Aid training is completed with an accredited MHFA Australia Instructor. To be ‘accredited’ means a MHFA course participant is accredited against the MHFA Australia guidelines. For more information about this training, please visit mhfa.com.au
By Emma Meldrum, Senior HR & Safety Officer