Recruit your Mental Health First Aiders
How many Mental Health First Aiders do you need? Legislation for Mental Health First Aid provision in the workplace is not yet in place. The Health and Safety Executive recommends: “You should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.” To meet these recommendations and demonstrate that your organisation views mental health as equally important to physical health, we recommend that you consider your organisation structure and the demands on the workforce. For some organisations it may be worthwhile aiming to have as many Mental Health First Aiders as physical first aiders. For multisite organisations it is important that there is always a Mental Health First Aider available to support employees at each location. Many organisations begin by piloting Mental Health First Aiders in one area of the business to establish what works for them before rolling it out more widely.
Who should be a Mental Health First Aider? Mental Health First Aider is a voluntary role. Although MHFA England courses are open to all, asking employees to apply for the training will help you to recruit the people within your organisation who are best placed for the role. We recommend that you train: – A wide range of individuals – encourage applications to represent the diversity of your workforce, from different seniority levels, locations, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. – People who want to learn more about mental health to support others , whether or not they have experienced mental ill health themselves. Make sure that all applicants (not just those who have disclosed personal experience) understand what the role will involve and have considered their own wellbeing to decide if now is the right time for them. – People who spend the majority of their working hours on site at the workplace for which they are nominated and can be called away from their normal duties at short notice if needed. – People who can maintain confidentiality as appropriate and demonstrate an ability to relate well to others. – People who can commit to the time required and who have the support from their line manager to fulfil the role once trained.
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