Putting Mental Health First in the Workplace

Friday, 21 August, 2020

Our wellbeing coordinator Sam Wells has been exploring the benefits of good mental health in the workplace.

She recently attended a Mental Health First Aid England course to develop skills for providing first aid to people who may be experiencing mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

Sam said: “A big part of my role is to support colleagues emotionally and to recognise the signs and symptoms of someone who may be suffering from mental ill-health in the workplace.

“That includes peers who may be developing a mental health issue, as well as those with a worsening or existing mental health condition.

“It encourages non-judgemental listening and to assess a situation and level of risk until a crisis has been resolved, or before seeking further professional help.”

Sam Wells
Sam Wells with her MHFA England certificate

The qualification follows on from COHS recently signing a Mindfulness Employer Charter, aimed at increasing mental health awareness at work and providing on-going support to staff who may be experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.

“COHS is now a workplace that has a mental health first aider as part of its team. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment towards developing mental health services within COHS,” said Sam.

“If someone shows signs and symptoms of deteriorating mental ill-health, it can have a massive impact on presenteeism and sick days.

“Many companies have first aider trainers but not many have staff trained in identifying the signs of mental ill-health.

“Supporting your team emotionally and mentally can help prevent presenteeism, reduce sick days and help with employee retention, especially in the current climate. It can also encourage a really healthy workforce.

“This is about recognising symptoms of mental ill-health at an early stage, so that colleagues feel supported and to help prevent a situation from escalating.”