Looking after your staff and promoting a healthy culture plays a critical role in the ability of all organisations to succeed to their fullest potential. There are loads of ways of doing this, but as it's Mental Health Awareness week, we thought we'd talk about the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders to our team. Every workplace has trained 'physical' first aiders, why not mental health ones too?
Mental Health First Aid is a social enterprise set up to improve the mental health of the nation through a variety of training courses. They're designed to give trainees the skills and confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress, either at work, at home or in the community.
Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, so there's a high chance that if something triggers a state of bad mental health, it's going to have an effect on you there. Having members of the team that are trusted by the business and the people in it to support those in distress is incredibly important. If nothing else to reduce stigma in the workplace by opening up the conversation, or as a display of understanding that everyone has mental health, the negative effects of which should be taken very seriously.
But more so, for when critical incidents do occur. From panic or anxiety attacks to the effects of long-term stress, sustained low-mood leading to depression, or someone showing subtle signs of taking their own life, you have people who know how to start a conversation in the right way as well as when to escalate a situation to the emergency services.
The design industry is notorious (though getting better I think) for long hours and stressful client deadlines. MHFA equips you with the skills to spot when team members might be struggling, or when a long period of unhealthy working might be settling in, and do something about it. It's advised that you train a spread of seniority too, so by putting people in leadership positions forward, it also puts mental health on the agenda right up to board level.
For a two-day course and a 'manual' covering everything you'll ever need to know it's also very reasonably priced. Well worth it in our opinion.
Chris Skelton, Creative Director