Mental Health First Aid: What is it, and why is it essential for your workplace?

Written by
Lucy Harrington
March 8, 2024

In today's fast-paced and often demanding work environments, the mental well-being of employees has never been more critical. Recognising this, organisations are increasingly turning to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) as a powerful tool to foster a supportive and resilient workforce.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Just as physical health first aid helps individuals provide initial care for someone experiencing a physical health crisis, MHFA equips individuals with the skills and knowledge to offer initial support to someone facing a mental health challenge. It's about providing that vital first step towards recovery and wellness.

How Does Mental Health First Aid Work?

MHFA training typically covers a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance use. Participants learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of these conditions and acquire the tools to offer assistance and support. Importantly, MHFA is not about diagnosing or providing therapy, it's about being a caring and informed presence until professional help arrives.

Why is MHFA Important for the Workplace?

1. Breaking the Stigma: MHFA training reduces the stigma around mental health issues, encouraging open conversations and people seeking help when needed.

2. Early Intervention: It enables and promotes early intervention, preventing issues from escalating into crises that may disrupt people’s lives and work.

3. Employee Wellbeing: When employees genuinely feel their well-being is valued, they tend to be more engaged, satisfied, and productive.

4. Legal and Ethical Obligations: Most States and Territories in Australia are introducing legal obligations for workplaces to address mental health with effective controls around psychosocial hazards. MHFA can not only upskill and protect your people, but also support compliance.

5. Return on Investment (ROI): Investing in MHFA training can yield returns through reduced absenteeism, increased employee engagement, reduced staff turnover, and improved productivity.

MHFA at Exsona

Exsona is delighted to offer MHFA training, either in-person or online, tailored to your organisation's needs. In-person training spans two full days, accommodating up to 22 participants, while our online option typically combines self-paced eLearning with two interactive Zoom sessions for groups of 6 to 12. 

What's Considered Best Practice?

The ideal number of staff trained depends on your organisation's size and structure. A general guideline is to aim for at least 10% of your workforce to undergo MHFA training. However, larger organisations might need to train a more extensive percentage. It's also vital to have a mix of trained individuals across various hierarchical levels and departments to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Incorporating MHFA into your workplace is a proactive step towards fostering a mentally healthy and supportive environment. By investing in MHFA training, your organisation not only supports its legal and ethical obligations but also demonstrates its commitment to the well-being of its employees, which pays dividends in the long run.

To learn more about how Exsona can help you implement MHFA in your workplace, get in touch with us today. Together, we can create a healthier, happier, and more productive work environment for all.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice or mental health support. For personalised guidance on mental health matters, please consult with a qualified mental health professional.

Tags :