First aid isn't just for physical emergencies
23 October 2018| Last updated on 13 November 2018
All credits: PA
Talking about your mental health with family and friends can be hard. But it’s often even more difficult when it comes to work.
There’s the niggling fear your manager might think you’re not up to the job, or that your colleagues might negatively judge you for being honest and upfront about the fact you’re struggling.
Attitudes around mental health are thankfully changing, but there’s still a stigma that makes many people suffer in silence at their desk. In fact, a worrying survey by graduate recruitment app Debut in the UK, revealed that 70% of people would avoid speaking to their future employer about their mental health.
Where did the idea come from?
Physical health first aid has been a legal necessity in countries like the UK for decades, but it’s only in the past 10 years that something similar has been created for mental well being too.
The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programme originated in Australia in 2000, and is the brainchild of Betty Kitchener, a former nurse and counsellor from Canberra.
Now, MHFA programmes have been established in 25 countries around the world, with over 2.6 million people trained globally.
While there’s currently no law to insist a workplace has to instate a mental health first aider, the concept is finally getting the attention it deserves, thanks to an increased awareness around the negative impact of stress, depression and anxiety.
Where can I get trained up?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is organised by clinics like The Lighthouse Center in the UAE. Reach out to them to help you organise small-scale or company-wide training programmes and packages to suit each employers specific needs.