On the 11th-12th February, we sent 3 members of our team to training with St Johns Ambulance in order to become Mental Health First Aiders.
The course is an internationally recognised program set up in 2000 by Australian founder Betty Kitchner. It was carried out by members of both our Dublin and Birmingham teams.
What is a Mental Health First Aider?
A Mental Health First Aider is a member of a team that is trained to spot and respond appropriately to symptoms of mental distress displayed in colleagues so that they can provide help and counsel where needed. It is both a reactive and proactive role as those suffering may not realise the symptoms in themselves, but they are also on hand to help if a colleague does reach out. They are also given resources and tools to be able to point people in the right direction for further help in order to avoid the issues getting worse.
5 step process to Mental Health First Aid
The system used is called ALGEE and it stands for the following:
- Approach the person, access and assist with any crisis
- Listen and communicate non-judgementally
- Give support and information
- Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
- Encourage other supports
Why focus on Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health Issues cost companies UK companies on average £74-£99 Billion per year. This includes mainly:
- Absenteeism – people who take leave due to mental ill-health
- Presenteeism – people who are at work but have reduced productivity due to mental ill-health
Like with physical illnesses prevention is always the best cure so intervening before the problem escalates is the best method to avoid these enormous pay-outs that neglecting mental health can cause.