MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE – NEW HSE GUIDANCE
A view on the HSE guidance on MHFA
The HSE have issued new Mental Health in the workplace guidance. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare. Moreover, they undertake research into occupational risks in Great Britain.
In August, they published the results of research into the effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid. Also, now the HSE has updated its guidance on First Aid Needs Assessment, to include specific guidance on making provisions for mental health first aid. It encourages employers to consider ways to “manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business”.
It goes on to say that this could include “providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.”
Where to Start?
As a relatively new subject, it can be difficult to assess how your needs need to be met. In other words, every business is different, and has different needs. Here are a few suggestions, that we as a business are looking at, that we are happy to share.
Train Mental Health First Aiders
MHFA training is available as a full 2 day course, 1 day for a ‘Champion’, and half day for ’awareness’. We now have 3 people trained as Mental Health First Aiders. Our plan is to expand this to other members of our team. As a result, there have already been situations that have directly benefitted from this training. More information available at https://mhfaengland.org/
First Aid Courses Covering First Aid
Further, the HSE guidance says that these courses “teach delegates how to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and help them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone, while keeping themselves safe.” At DNG, we have recently brought our first aid training in house. As a result, this allows us to develop mental health awareness sessions as an introduction.
Provide Information to Staff
Providing information – flyers, posters, newsletters, social media posts, emails, during 1 to 1 sessions, appraisals – all helps to increase awareness and move the conversation forward. Similarly, size and nature of teams dictate how this is best done. Also, we will produce a series of blog posts about various mental health problems.
Music Support Charity
Music Support is a registered charity founded in April 2016. It provides vital help and support for individuals in all areas of the UK music industry suffering from alcoholism, addiction, emotional or mental health issues. They have a helpline available 24hrs a day, and could be a timely and invaluable resource if needed. All their helpline volunteers have personal experience of the music industry and the issues that Music Support covers. You can reach Music Support 24hrs a day on 0800 030 6789, http://www.musicsupport.org/
You can read the full HSE guidance at http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/needs-assessment.htm
So, this is definitely a major step forward, and reflects a much wider conversation about Mental Health within society, as awareness spreads and the taboo lifts.
It is easy to make a business case for looking after our people. MHFA England estimate that “Mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year.”
Furthermore, this revised guidance from the HSE goes further. It moves mental health issues into the same category as physical first aid. Most importantly, it is now adequate duty of care to make provisions.
Finally, it is important to note that this has become increasingly pertinent in the workplace. Moreover, the Department of Health advises that one in four will experience mental ill health in our lives. So, lets change the conversation and take action.