According to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions are increasing worldwide and this has been worsened by the pandemic and its wider repercussions.
“As people grapple with these health, social and economic impacts, mental health has been widely affected. Plenty of us became more anxious; but for some COVID-19 has sparked or amplified much more serious mental health problems.” (Source)
The wellbeing of our employees is of key importance at Quorum, looking after our employees is a win/win situation for both employer and employee and mental health is a large part of this.
In December, a team of willing volunteers, all with their own personal stories and experiences of mental health, enrolled in an interactive course at St Andrews First Aid in Leith with the aim of building a peer-support group of Mental Health First Aiders at Quorum.
We can all be an advocate in combatting the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace and no-one should feel that there’s nowhere left to turn. Despite the efforts to nurture an open and inclusive culture at Quorum, people may sometimes find it helpful to know that we have a team of approachable and impartial ears who will be ready and willing to listen and offer support and who are actively looking out for everyone’s wellbeing.
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health that can be affected at any time and in a number of ways. In the same way that first aid provides “first and immediate assistance given to any person with either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery”, Mental Health First Aid provides the same for mental ill-health.
Mental Health First Aid doesn’t teach you to be a therapist, to diagnose or treat mental health issues, but it will teach you to listen, reassure, and respond, even in a crisis. Mental Health First Aider’s have:
- Practical skills to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues.
- Confidence to step in, reassure and support during a crisis.
- Knowledge to help somebody recover their health and find further support.
Our new Mental Health First Aiders
Quorum were lucky enough to have two existing Mental Health First Aiders and we brought this number up to nine. It is our hope that by building a network of varied Mental Health First Aiders from across the company, that everyone can find someone that they feel comfortable opening up to, as well as their own line managers.
It’s well documented that mental health conditions can be isolating. I wanted to do the training to learn how to help people more effectively. I wanted to provide support to my colleagues to let them know that not being ok is ok and that with support things do get better.
I think MHFA is important to ensure that everyone knows there are people to talk to when they need support. I also believe that it is crucial to have people who know what to look out for in the case of employees who need support that may not realise that they require it.
I chose to complete the MHFA training to gain more knowledge on mental health issues and allow me to provide better support to colleagues and friends who need someone to talk to.
While we’re not qualified to be professional therapists or counsellors, we have developed the skills to be a friendly and non-judgemental face to provide confidential support and reassurance to our colleagues who may be in difficulty and to offer basic advice on how to find help if you need it.
I can now confidently identify the early warning signs of someone who is struggling and provide appropriate help. I hope it gives everyone the confidence that, should they have any mental health needs, there are recognised and friendly people to talk to, overcoming many of the stigmas that still exist with mental health.
My main take away was that you are not able to solve people’s problems or are even encouraged to, it’s being able to listen and help signpost people to the right resources & people that can really help.
I was shocked to learn the waiting times many people face in getting help. The most important thing I took from that was to seek help sooner rather than later to get the ball rolling. Being trained in MHFA means I know what signs to look out for and can hopefully help people get that early intervention that they need.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION