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Adur & Worthing Councils put mental health on the map in the workplace

Released: Monday, 11 February 2019

More than 20 staff at Adur & Worthing Councils have been trained to support their fellow colleagues who may be struggling with their mental health.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is part of Adur & Worthing Councils' commitment to supporting its staff by focusing on improving mental health in the workplace.

The course, which is accredited by MHFA England, takes place over two days and has been set up to work in much the same way as physical first aid. Upon completion of the training, Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support.

By training staff in these skills, the Councils hope to challenge this stigma, as well as address the disparity in current attitudes between mental and physical health, among its workforce of more than 700 staff.

The aim is to ensure greater support for staff and hope that other businesses and organisations across Adur and Worthing follow the lead.

Cllr Dave Simmons, Adur District Council's Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, attended the launch where he met a number of the newly qualified Mental Health First Aiders.

Cllr Simmons said:

“I'm so pleased to be here at the launch to show my support for this vital scheme. Conversations about mental health have the power to transform lives - they break down stereotypes, improve relationships and challenge mental health stigma.”

"While physical first aid is something we're all aware of - if we hurt ourselves at work we might call for a First Aider or an ambulance - many of us aren't aware of what to do if we are struggling with our mental health. For me, this scheme recognises the importance of supporting members of staff who may be going through times of stress, both inside and outside of work.”

Mental Health First Aid is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health. By training staff, businesses and organisations can meet the recommended core standards for a mentally healthy workplace as set out in the Government's 'Thriving at Work' report.

Research shows that mental health problems like anxiety or depression can affect around one in four people in any given year. Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in the workplace. Mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year.

Despite the impact of mental health problems, the stigma surrounding mental health can mean that people are still afraid to talk about it, especially in the workplace. Research shows that up to 90% of people with mental health problems experience some form of stigma at work, education or during treatment.

To find out more about Mental Health First Aid in the workplace visit the MHFA England website.

Photo: Cllr Dave Simmons (2nd from right) with Adur & Worthing Councils staff at the Mental Health First Aider launch

PR19-029 - Cllr Dave Simmons (2nd from right) with AW Councils staff at the Mental Health First Aider launch


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