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Mental Health First Aiders at Work

10th October 2018

Looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

If you were to get injured or fall at work, a First Aider would be called upon to help you. In a similar way, when the fire alarm sounds, a Fire Marshall is called upon. They are neither a doctor nor fireman, yet they put you at ease and have been trained to deal with that particular situation.

What do you do when you’re feeling so overwhelmed or anxious about work matters that makes you just want to scream? You can feel like you’re going quite mad but you can’t talk to anyone about it - people will think that you can’t do your job properly, or even worse, they will think that you are having some form of mental breakdown.

At Medvivo, we are breaking down the barriers connected to mental health. Through Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) England, staff were invited to attend Mental Health Champion and Awareness courses, plus 11 people attended a two day Mental Health First Aider course.

Mental Health First Aid teaches skills for providing first aid to people who may be experiencing mental health issues. As a result of the training, our First Aiders have:

  • An in depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening

HR Director Nicky Wood comments: “Medvivo is proud of its reputation as being an excellent place to work. In a recent staff survey, 73% of staff reported being very aware of their psychological wellbeing, and 41% said that although it was OK, their mental health could be better. In response Medvivo has invested time and resources to support mental health by raising awareness and providing support to all employees through this initiative.

Staff already have access to counselling services via our dedicated Employee Assistance Programme that provides 24/7 telephone access. This year, Mind was selected as our charity of the year. Mental health is therefore a subject that is close to our hearts and one we all take very seriously. That’s why we invested in a comprehensive mental health training programme.

Our 11 Mental Health First Aiders have been trained to recognise warning signs of mental ill health. They are not medically qualified, but they are there to listen to colleagues, reassure and respond to them, guiding them as necessary to get further support, whether that’s through self-help, the NHS or similar healthcare services.

They will also provide useful information and resources to keep the conversation going. This will help people to recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental health problems both in themselves and others.”

It is said that 1 in 4 people will experience poor mental health at some point in their lives. We all have mental health, just as we do physical health. Both need looking after, so it’s time to change how we look after it.

With a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace, we will be able to take action early to help people who are displaying signs of mental ill health. And equally staff will have someone they can speak to in confidence before they reach crisis point.

The training was well received by all members of staff and we hope to be able to run more courses in the future.

For more information on Mental Health First Aid Training, visit

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