Mental Health Awareness Week: 15-21 May 2023
You won’t need to look far to find someone who is affected by mental health issues. Shockingly, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.1
But what would you say to someone who is struggling? How could you support them? What could you actually do to help?
These were the questions that were bothering me every time I saw mental health discussed on TV, when I was worried about a colleague who’d become withdrawn or learnt of a friend who was struggling. I wanted to help, but how? What if I said the wrong thing? It turns out I’m not alone. A recent survey from MHFA England found that a third of managers felt out of their depth supporting their team with mental health concerns.2
This is what led me to sign-up to a mental health first aider course last year. The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programme was set up to extend the concept of first aid training to include mental health issues, empowering people to provide support. MHFA England runs a range of online and face-to-face training courses for individuals or workplace groups, providing basic knowledge about mental health issues, an easy-to-follow action plan, and information about professional and other support available.
From my perspective, the course has given me the confidence to ask how people really are, and to navigate those conversations so, where appropriate, I can give the right support and information. It’s also made me more aware of the mental health warning signs to look out for so, if needed, now I can actually do something to help.
That includes in the workplace. Mental health can affect any of us, at any stage of life, and as employers, line mangers and colleagues, we can play a really important role in supporting good mental health at work. At Makara Health, our open and honest culture, and our ‘kindness’ value help to ensure an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing mental health with managers and colleagues, without judgement or stigma, with professional support available via the private health scheme where needed. So whether through initiatives and strategies to support employee wellbeing and work-life balance, or by simply being aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and being there to listen and support colleagues, we can all make a difference.
To find out more about MHFA training courses, visit: https://mhfaengland.org/
Written by El Craven, Business Unit Director, PR (maternity cover)
- McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.
- MHFA England (2023) Survey shows managers are ‘out of their depth’ on mental health. Available at: https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/news/survey-shows-managers-are-out-of-their-depth-on-mental-health/. Accessed May 2023.