The Key Benefits of Having a Mental Health First Aider at Work

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Wellbeing in the workplace is a top priority for us when it comes to both our team and the spaces we create for our clients.

We specialise in creating wellbeing-focused spaces and are always striving to educate ourselves on additional ways to benefit mental health at work.

Even though the work environment has a significant impact on wellbeing and mental health, support for mental health should go much further than just the make up of your office space.

We want to make sure that all members of our business have support from all angles, and so Shellene, our Office Manager, volunteered to become our dedicated Mental Health First Aider.

Shellene attended a 2-day Mental Health First Aid course run by St John's Ambulance and MHFA England.

The topic of mental health at work is, and should be, a huge priority for all businesses, and so we want to help enlighten you with some of the key benefits of Mental Health First Aid training, and some details on what the role of a Mental Health First Aider entails.

The Role of a Mental Health First Aider

Role of a Mental Health First Aider

The primary responsibility of a Mental Health First Aider is to point people in the right direction when they need help.

A first aider assists team members directly, but can also offer advice to managers who need support and help regarding a member of their team.

As the saying goes, 'a problem shared is a problem halved' and the role of a mental health first aider is to spot the signs of someone in need of help or support.

Having someone in the office who is aware of the team's wellness and behaviour is priceless. In the hustle and bustle of a busy workplace, it's easy for mental health issues to go unnoticed by some, but not when you have a Mental Health First Aider on-hand and equipped to spot the signals.

Fear of discrimination and feelings of shame are among the top reasons people give for not telling their colleagues about their mental health problems.
— Mental Health Foundation

The role of a Mental Health First Aider is to listen, offer support, and advise on how to get help. Their role is not to diagnose, but instead communicate and point someone in the right direction of sufficient mental health support.

With knowledge of how to approach the subject and with access to useful resources, Mental Health First Aiders can simultaneously support the employee and the employer by also making sure employees respect and abide by a business' policies and procedures.

Communication is key when it comes to approaching the subject of mental health, and a first aider is trained on how to do this respectfully.

Having someone with this role ensures that all team members receive the right level of care and attention, as opposed to that of someone who has not been trained on the matter. It benefits the employee and the employer on all levels!

How to Adapt Your Workplace to Benefit Mental Health

As we mentioned previously, the work environment has a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing. This is something we've been preaching about for a while, and Shellene's training has emphasised this even further!

The Mental Health First Aid training advised the following to businesses like yours and ours, on how to better support positive mental health at work:

1. Provide access to healthy snacks

Nutrition is hugely influential on mental health, so it's good practice for companies to offer healthy snacks and easy access to hydration. Something as simple as a communal fruit bowl stocked with fresh fruit helps to promote healthy eating habits amongst your team. As we’ve said before, a happy and healthy team is a productive one!

2. Offer space to eat lunch

Eating at the desk is a bad habit adopted by many - heck, even we're guilty of it! - but it's no good for wellbeing at work. It's important for staff to have the opportunity to eat away from their desk within the office, so it's recommended that businesses offer breakout spaces to give employees somewhere to eat their lunch away from their workstation.

Soft seating, booths and tall tables are just a handful of the effective ways to encourage your team to utilise the breakout spaces for lunch.

3. Promote physical exercise

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Mental and physical health are strongly intertwined, with each having the ability to affect the other. Working at a desk all day can have a negative impact on the happiness and productivity of your team due to remaining in a sedentary position for long hours with little movement.

This means becomes a great advantage for employers to promote physical activity of their team throughout the day as it helps to reduce the risk of joint/back pain, decrease the number of sick days and boosts staff morale.

Try to think creatively about how to get active, such as suggesting a walking meeting instead of a seated one. Offering gym memberships and/or company exercise sessions are also becoming increasingly popular and common, both of which are great for mental health, physical health, and employee incentives!




4. Encourage openness

It’s a global effort that’s required to help break down the stigma associated with talking about mental health, not only at work, but in general as well.

Company culture affects people's willingness to communicate, so it's important that your workplace encourages openness so people feel comfortable talking to each other.

Talking and asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength! And it can help employees to tackle their problems early on.

And lastly, we recommend:




5. Having a Mental Health First Aider

To really give your team the best mental health support and encourage a healthy and happy business, a flexible office environment combined with an open company culture and supportive Mental Health First Aider forms a strong support network for your team.




Wellbeing in the Absolute HQ

We practice what we preach, and the Absolute family are lucky enough to have many wellbeing-focused strategies in place. Our fruit bowl is always stocked, and cupboards are always filled with healthy snacks.

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It’s good
to talk

We encourage our staff to be open and honest with one another.

Our team participates in several charity events each year, most of which involve opportunities to get active! And we also have a wonderful outside area which is perfect for eating lunch or taking meetings outside when the sun is shining!

If you're looking to improve your office environment and shape it into a wellbeing-focused space, get in touch and talk to our experts!