Poppy Jaman: Mental health first aid training can guide employees to the right support


We all have mental health just as we have physical health, but it can seem more difficult to spot the signs of mental ill health.

The key thing to look out for when it comes to mental ill health are changes in an employee’s usual behaviour, such as unusual irritability or tearfulness, sudden loss of confidence or increased sickness absence. Noticing such changes is an important part of recognising when an employee might be experiencing a mental health issue and feeling confident to have a conversation with them about how they are feeling.

One simple step employers can take to help make their workplace more mentally healthy is to train staff in mental health first aid. This is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid training, and provides participants with the skills and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively guide a person towards the right support.

With World Mental Health Day taking place on 10 October, and the theme this year being ‘psychological and mental health first aid for all’, there is no better time for employers to commit to improving the mental wellbeing of their staff and introduce mental health first aid training to their workplace.

I strongly believe that all businesses should be measured by their social and environmental output and not just by profit. I think that if every [organisation] measured a triple bottom line, people, planet and profit, we would live in a much healthier and happier world.

Poppy Jaman is chief executive officer at Mental Health First Aid England 

Poppy Jaman will discuss breaking the taboos around talking about mental health at work at Employee Benefits Live 2016 on 12 October.