According to Mind, 1 in 6 workers experience common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and 1 in 5 people have said they have called in sick as a result of workplace stress.

In addition to this, mental health problems at work cost employers in the UK between £33 and £42 billion, a 2017 report by the government revealed. 

As stigma around mental health continues to be tackled, it's clear that employers have a responsibility in being able to support employees who may be suffering and put preventative measures in place to guide them to support.

Here's just five of the many reasons why all organisations should have a designated mental health first aider:

1. Spotting The Signs

Having someone on site with the ability to spot the early signs of ill mental health in their colleagues is invaluable. Sadly, much stigma still surrounds the issue of mental health and opening up about it can be tough. If someone is educated in identifying the early signs and able to start that conversation, the colleague affected may feel more at ease in talking about what's bothering them.

2. Knowing the dos and the don'ts

It's estimated that we spend a third of our entire lives at work. That means there's a lot of opportunity for those affected by poor mental health to be given the means to access further support. When having that initial conversation with an employee or colleague, your words are crucial and can be the difference between someone seeking further help or remaining silent and continuing to struggle. A member of staff who knows exactly what to say (and as importantly, what not to say) will help build that bridge to support.

3. Time, money and productivity

The impact that mental health can have on a workplace is excruciating. High stress levels, anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues can prevent anyone from achieving their work goals, and can result in low productivity, and hence a loss of money. As mentioned, the cost of mental health to employers is overwhelming, and largely comes as a result of days taken off work. A mental health first aider would work to reduce this number by signposting individuals to further, professional support.

4. Physical health - what's the difference?

Employers are currently held responsible for ensuring the physical safety of their staff is paramount. As physical and mental health are equally as important, as we all have both, it makes sense that this same responsibility is rolled out when it comes to staff mental well-being. A current campaign, #WheresYourHeadAt, is on the way to making this responsibility a legal requirement. Get ahead of the game and get a mental health first aider.

5. Be part of the international change

86% of people think that mental health is one of the biggest issues facing the UK, whilst 9 in 10 think there is still stigma attached to talking about it ( This is changing, slowly but surely, and it's vital that employers lead this conversation and play a part in changing society.

To find out more about Hestia's Mental Health & Complex Needs services including our drop in Recovery Cafes, click here.

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