New Mental Health First Aiders Offer Their Support
On World Mental Health Day, Winn Group celebrates the increased awareness of mental health illness while recognising that there is still a way to go to remove the long-standing stigma limiting most people’s understanding, highlighted by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA).
A startling statistic from Poppy Jaman, CEO of MHFA England is that, “The World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2030 depression will be the single leading cause of the global burden of disease.”
We thought this was the perfect opportunity to increase understanding at Winn Group by catching up with the two latest members of staff to become Mental Health First Aiders following training from MFHA. We asked Megan and Kelven what they learned and how they can help.
What were the key things that you learnt on the course?
One of the key things we learnt was the language to use with regards to mental health.
The stigma surrounding mental health is still very high and there are common words used every day such as ‘crazy’, ‘mental’ or ‘weirdo’ that can.
As a lot of people do not understand mental health, the use of phrases such as ‘they must be nuts’, ‘he/she is crazy’, ‘they’re mental’, ‘what a weirdo’ are commonly used within society. These kinds of phrases can hugely impact a person living with mental health, upsetting or offending those who really need support. You can’t necessarily tell who, as people living with mental health can often mask their emotions and feelings. Please do not use such phrases as you don’t know who you may be affecting.
Was there anything that you learnt that you didn’t know before you did the course and if so, what was it?
I didn’t realise the true impact of depression until I completed the course. If anyone wants to gain a better understanding I would recommend watching a video on YouTube called ‘I had a black dog, his name was depression’, it is extremely eye-opening and something I think everyone would benefit from understanding.
Also, Woman are twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems than men. Findings suggest this is because men are less likely to speak about their feelings.
Which statistics stood out for you?
75% of mental illness (excluding dementia) starts before age 18, which is staggering and emphasises the need to identify and help people who may currently be undiagnosed.
If you could pass on just one piece of information that you learnt on the course, what would it be? The key thing to do is Listen! If a person living with mental health opens up about it, the key thing to do is Listen. Most people’s immediate response would be to give advice, this will not help, firstly we need to listen. It also goes without saying that you must not be judgemental.
What should staff do in the first instance if they are concerned about their own or someone else’s mental health?
Speak to someone; whether that be a colleague, manager, HR, your GP or one of the company’s mental health first aiders. The first step is to open the conversation; starting the dialog and listening without interrupting or judging is key. We can provide support and information as to the next steps and support along the way.
That first step is crucial, then we can work together to provide the right support.
What if staff are unsure if it is a mental health issue, but just need someone to talk to?
Anyone who is unsure can approach any of the mental health first aiders or speak to your GP, there is no right or wrong to raising your concerns and asking for support or help whether it is mental ill health or not.
Do you have anything else to add?
Megan Robson, “There is so much support out there, it is just about knowing no one has to go through anything alone.”
Kelven Oxberry, “There is help available and our door is always open, please feel free to grab me for a confidential chat!”
Samaritans: 116 123 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
SaneLine: 0300 304 7000 http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/helpline