MPs are today debating a change in the law to make it compulsory to have a mental health first aider at work. As a provider of mental health first aid training, Restore strongly supports moves to encourage employers to provide mental health first aid training and has written to our four local Members of Parliament Anneliese Dodds, Layla Moran, Ed Vaizey, and Victoria Prentis, to ask them to back our campaign!
We were delighted to have Anneliese Dodds MP back our campaign and Restore’s mental health first aid training which saw 528 managers and employees on our Mental Health First Aid courses across 2017/18:
“Mental health should be given equal treatment to physical health by ensuring employers look after the wellbeing of their workforce. I back this change in the law to put mental health first aid at work on an equal footing with other forms of first aid–and welcome Restore’s first aid training and campaigning on this issue”
I am writing to ask you to urge the Government to prioritise its manifesto pledge to amend the Health and Safety regulations, so that workplaces are required to make provision for mental as well as physical first aid.
The workplace is where we spend most of our adult lives but unfortunately it’s also a place where mental well-being can be neglected. We feel the need to soldier on when we are struggling with mental ill health in a way we never would if we had the flu or broken a leg.
This is reflected in our laws. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, most workplaces have to train someone in medical first aid—it means if we come to work and end up getting hurt or sick, there’s someone that knows what to do. Despite statistics showing 1 in 4 of us struggle with mental health every year, most workplaces don’t have anyone on hand that knows how to help.
Restore’s own experience shows that the earlier a mental health issue—like stress, anxiety or depression—is detected, the easier it is to manage and treat. By making it easier for people to talk about their mental health at work and and by training colleagues who know where to point people to get the help, we could dramatically improve the mental well-being of the country.
Each year, workplace mental health issues cost the UK economy almost £35 billion, with 15.4 million working days lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. The cost is not just financial, because left untreated, mental ill health can affect a person’s relationships with friends and family and, ultimately, their quality of life.
Success will ensure employees across the country can access a trained staff member to receive initial support and guidance if they are dealing with a mental health issue at work. Success will ensure every employee has the right to a mentally healthy environment. Success will mean we can finally break the stigma of mental health in the workplace. Restore is committed to ensuring that Oxfordshire workplaces have the right support and guidance with our Mental Health First Aid training. In 2017/18, 528 managers and employees trained on our Mental Health First Aid courses.
The commitment to explicitly include mental health in the First Aid regulations is supported by both employers and by the public. Since May 2018 over 270,000 people have signed the Bauer Media change.org petition calling on the Government to make mental health first aid mandatory in all workplaces.
We all have mental health just as we have physical health. So please do all that you can to enact a change in the law to reflect this.