National training body Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England says that 140,000 people were given workplace mental health first aid training in 2018-19 (the most ever in a single year), and FTSE 100 companies are reporting that they have trained more than 10,000 staff to help a rising number of employees who are expressing mental distress.
However, some experts are warning that these initiatives can have mixed success if they are not part of a wider strategy on mental health in the workplace. A report by the Health & Safety Executive said: “There is limited evidence that MHFA training leads to sustained improvement in the ability of those trained to help colleagues experiencing mental ill health.”
At Premier Partnership, we have many years of experience of delivering mental health training, including Mental Health First Aid, and can advise on how it works as part of a wider organisational strategy for maximum impact. As with all types of workplace learning and training, it should never be a ‘tick box exercise’. Mental health awareness is an important part of any organisational strategy but giving people within the organisation practical steps that they can take to signpost those in distress to the right help is key, along with wider interventions to prevent work-related mental health issues occurring.
Mental health should also feed into other forms of training and development; not just looked at in isolation. In fact, there is evidence that workplace learning itself can help to improve mental health, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction.
Contact us for advice on how to put mental health at the centre of your L&D strategy