Beyond yoga and fruit bowls: why more employers should provide Mental Health First Aid
"I wish I had learned about this years ago, I might have made a difference" is a comment our trainers hear frequently when conducting our Mental Health First Aid course.
Awareness of the importance of mental health has been growing steadily for the last few decades, which has seen a corresponding growth in ‘yoga and fruit bowl’ style initiatives at work. Make no mistake, we love a good bowl of fruit (gotta be quick to nab those bananas though!), but to really address mental health at work we need to move beyond simple awareness into mental health literacy.
The Mental Health First Aid course is an early intervention and literacy program. Mental Health literacy is about knowing the signs, symptoms and interventions for common mental health problems. We teach you what help is available and where to get it; you will learn how to have effective conversations that support people to reach out and get the help they need.
It doesn’t stop there: we also teach you what to do in a crisis such as suicide, self-harm, panic attacks, trauma, or psychosis. These are big topics which need to be addressed in a safe, sensitive, and effective way which is why our trainers are qualified Mental Health Professionals.
Statistically, everyone reading this will know several people impacted by mental ill health – yet few workplaces choose to educate their workforce on mental illness. One in five Australian workers are currently experiencing a mental health condition. Anxiety, depression, and substance use problems are the most common and affect people during their prime working years, but less than half of the people experiencing these conditions seek help.
The recent Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health found that mental illness costs Australian employers up to $39.1 billion per annum in lower participation, absenteeism, and presenteeism (people showing up to work but unable to be productive).
When you learn MHFA with us we’ll make sure you know how to look after yourself, and we will teach you the importance of understanding the limits of the MHFAider’s role – how to avoid becoming an ‘accidental counsellor’. As professionals we use our own tertiary and personal experience to really bring the training to life. This training goes beyond the workplace, with many people reporting back that as well as for their colleagues, they also use it for themselves, their family, and friends.
Mental Health First Aid can be delivered as a face-to-face course at your premises or ours; we can also deliver it online. It’s time to go beyond fruit bowls and yoga, and equip your workforce with practical, evidence-based skills that could change a life and lead to measurable improvement in workplace wellbeing. Educating your workforce in Mental Health First Aid is good for everybody’s mental health.
Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. Melbourne: Beyond Blue. Modern work: how changes to the way we work are impacting Australians’ mental health White Paper. October 2021. Sydney, AU: Black Dog Institute
Talk to us at Premium Health. We’ll help you select the delivery method best suited for your support staff and your organisation.