MHFA England launches best-practice workplace guidance

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Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has today launched best-practice guidance for employers on how to implement Mental Health First Aid in the workplace. This follows the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent enhancement of its First Aid guidance to clarify the existing need to consider mental health alongside physical health when undertaking a ‘needs assessment’.

To date over 15,000 organisations across the country have already trained staff in MHFA England courses but that figure could rise substantially if the HSE’s updated guidance is adopted by employers. According to the regulator, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health every year, and with its updated guidance, there’s now a need for employers across all sectors to understand how Mental Health First Aid training should be implemented in the workplace. 

Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England commented,

“Our new guidance provides clear information to support employers in implementing Mental Health First Aid training in the workplace – ensuring that their first aid provision can effectively protect both the mental and physical health of their employees.

“Mental Health First Aid training should always be one part of a ‘whole organisation’ approach to mental health – helping thousands of employers to implement the core standards for a mentally healthy workplace, as set out in the Government’s ‘Thriving at Work’ review, including improving mental health awareness and encouraging conversation about the support available.”

Developed in consultation with leading employers PwC, Royal Mail, Thames Water and Three UK, the new guidance provides information on strategically embedding MHFA England training. It includes advice on how to recruit, promote and support staff trained in Mental Health First Aid as part of a whole organisation approach to workplace mental health.

Sally Evans, Wellbeing Lead, PwC said,

“As an employer that is incorporating Mental Health First Aid training into our wellbeing strategy we were pleased to share our insights as part of the development of this new guidance.

“By offering this guidance, MHFA England is providing a clear set of considerations for employers looking at how to implement Mental Health First Aid training – whilst also respecting that organisations of different shapes and sizes will need to take different approaches.”

Alongside this new advice, strengthened guidance on the role of the person trained in Mental Health First Aid skills has also been published to support the Role of the Mental Health First Aider. This covers the boundaries and responsibilities of those qualified at different levels; as Mental Health First Aiders, Mental Health First Aid Champions and Mental Health Aware.

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