Why Mental Health First Aid Training Should Be Top of Your To-Do List

Posted on 1/7/2020

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With 1 in 5 Australian workers experiencing a mental health condition at any one time, ensuring your employees are equipped with the right tools to aid those in need is critical to the ongoing success of your business.

HR managers and business owners have long known the benefits of physical first aid training. It ensures employees are equipped with the skills and have the confidence to deal with a range of emergency situations they may encounter both while at work and at home.

Importantly, proper first aid training can help to minimise lost-time injuries occurring in the workplace and reduce the impact of such incidents on your operations. However, despite this long-held view, it has only been in recent years that businesses have been able to better quantify the impact of mental health conditions and the importance of fostering positive mental health in the workplace.


The evidence is clear

 In recent years, much research has been undertaken to better understand the impact of mental health conditions in the workplace and the evidence is clear – businesses that take active steps to support and promote a positive culture around mental health in the workplace will reap the long-term benefits.

According to analysis by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, every dollar you spend creating a mentally healthy workplace can, on average, result in a positive return on investment (ROI) of 2.3, while research by Instinct and Reason found that three-quarters of Australian employees say a mentally healthy workplace is important when looking for a job. The same research also found that organisations with a positive approach to mental health and safety have increased productivity, improved worker engagement and are better able to recruit and retain talented people.

Perks Senior Human Resources Consultant Sarah Hills said that the increased awareness of mental health conditions in society has created a business imperative for employers and HR managers to foster a positive culture of mental health, reduces the stigmatising attitudes and increases support to others.

“We now know that up to 45% of all Australians will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives and the most common conditions – anxiety and depression – tend to affect people during their prime working years,” she said.

“So, no matter the size of your business, chances are you have one or more employees who currently are, have previously, or may in the future, experience a mental health condition, highlighting the need to take action.”

 “Critically, there is a significant risk to any business that ignores the mental health of its employees, which can result in increased compensation claims, a loss of productivity and render you unable to attract quality candidates.”


Equipping your team with the right tools

 As any workplace knows, providing your team with the right tools for the job is critical to the ongoing success of your business. For most businesses, training forms a key part of equipping your team to handle the various scenarios employees will face on any given day, which increasingly includes how to recognise mental health conditions and assist those in need in the workplace.

Cecilia White, Director of Perks People Solutions said that specialised Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is therefore something all employers and HR managers should consider for their teams.

“MHFA is something that is increasingly important for all businesses to consider– mental health is an issue that workplaces and society as a whole can no longer ignore,” she said.

“Through this training, managers can build the skills, capability and confidence to better respond to workers whom they are concerned about and it also provides other employees, who are willing to be mental health first aiders, with specific skills to assist colleagues who might be in need.”

Perks People Solutions offer MHFA training for individuals and teams within an organisation. The 12-hour course can be completed over 2 or more days and equips participants with the skills and confidence to identify and define mental health issues, have supportive conversations, apply various MHFA techniques and offer professional help if required. Participants that complete the training will become qualified Mental Health First Aiders in their workplace. Sarah has upcoming MHFA training courses ( yet to be scheduled for August) that individuals can book.

For more information about Mental Health First Aid training or the importance of promoting positive mental health in the workplace, contact Cecilia White.

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