The Importance of Mental Health Training in the Workplace

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Throughout the day, we are encouraging members of staff to get involved through a number of workplace initiatives in our head office:

  • We have filled our kitchen with snacks (including healthy and unhealthy treats!) and we are encouraging employees to take regular breaks away from their desk to spend time together in our communal breakout space.
  • We have placed motivational and inspiring quotes around well-used areas of the office, including our coffee machines, tables, filing cabinets, water coolers and fridges (some of which are pictured at the top of this blog).
  • We have encouraged all staff to leave anonymous notes in our kitchen sharing what positively and affects their mental health and have asked them to provide tips for others.
  • Notes were placed on our employees’ desks before they came in to work this morning providing them with 10 tips on ways they can look after their mental health.

I also asked some of our 16 mental health first aiders to have a think about why mental health training is so important in a busy workplace like ours. 

Our employees have benefited hugely from having a trained mental health team, and on World Mental Health Day I think I can categorically say that we would recommend the training to all companies, regardless of size. 

Andy Blake, company security manager:

“Everyone is, or knows someone that has been affected by mental ill health in some way. It’s all around us and the reality is, not many of know what to do when faced with it. The mental health first aid course not only provided an opportunity to recognise the signs and symptoms in my colleagues, but also my family and friends outside of the workplace and when the course became available, I immediately put my name down.

Spotting signs and knowing early intervention skills are all essential when it comes to a condition that has no obvious physical signs. In the workplace, who better to look after you than somebody who spends all day with you? It is so important that trained personnel are present, obvious and ready to offer help.

It was a real eye opener of a course, not just for me but for everyone who attended. Most people think they know about mental ill health, or at least have an awareness – but the topics that were covered and some of the statistics involved were a real surprise and I have come away not just with a qualification, but a new and heightened respect for those who battle daily with one form or another of mental ill health”.

Mission systems employee:

“Having served with the military for over 3 decades I have found myself in situations where I have had first-hand experience of the suffering and anxiety that can be caused by mental health issues.

Men are particularly bad at asking for help, so it is a valuable quality to be able to spot the signs of stress in male friends and colleagues. Completing the mental health first aid course has equipped me with the tools, skills and confidence required to support friends and colleagues who are going through difficult times.

Each of us will experience difficult spells at some time in our lives and my own past has shown me that when I have had difficulties it would have been a great comfort to have had a trusted friend or colleague that I could have spoken to in order to get a different perspective; a problem shared really is a problem halved”.

Chris Wright, intelligence and scenario SME:

“I wanted to take part in Inzpire’s mental health first aid training after recently developing a greater awareness of my own mental health needs, and also after being inspired by the openness of a colleague – these two things culminated in a desire to help more people.

People with mental health training are able to offer timely support in the workplace, with a low key approach. It is important for employees to know that they can confidentially discuss mental health concerns with their colleagues who are mental health first aiders.

The mental health first aid training course made me realise that a relatively small amount of training provide a much larger benefit to people in and out of the workplace. I learned a number of helpful tips, but I was most surprised about the impact of something as small as going for a stroll around the block! It is great for your mental health, and is even better with a colleague who is a mental health first aider to chat through stuff.

I have also been able to apply some of the tips I learned in my own life. I am now more capable of recognising when I need a break – just this morning, I recognised that I needed to step out of the office and I then used a app for a 1 min session of meditation – with an immediate positive outcome.

Mental health is not all about the negative stuff – it is about achieving and maintaining good mental wellbeing in ways that work for you”.

Beth Roche, legal and commercial executive:

“Inzpire truly values its employees and their wellbeing, and recently I was amongst a group of Inzpire employees who were given the opportunity to train as a mental health first aider.

I wanted to take part in the training as I am passionate about mental health being given the same level of attention as physical health. It is incredibly important to understand mental health and how to talk about it.

Having completed my mental health first aid training, I now have an enhanced awareness and understanding of mental health whilst having the appropriate tools and resources to help people in need.

Having mental health first aiders within the company is incredibly important as, although we are not trained experts or counsellors, we are there to act as a first point of contact to listen, non-judgmentally and provide information to people in respect of the professional help that is out there if they want it.

Providing an open and safe environment for employees is incredibly important, especially in the workplace”.

Some of Inzpire’s trained mental health first aid team