Our commitment to good mental health: why we’re training up mental health first aiders


Renae Shaw

Head of HR


HR

Mental health has always been, and always will be, important to Search Laboratory.

From offering free face to face private counselling for our staff, to being a Mindful Employer, we’ve always strived to ensure we do everything within our power to look after our staff’s well-being.  

This month, we’re furthering our ongoing commitment to supporting mental health in the workplace by training 16 members of staff to be Mental Health First Aiders. This means more than 50% of Search Laboratory employees will have now received specialist external mental health training, as both I and 26 Search Laboratory
managers also received external training in November as part of our annual Well-Being Week.

In our Well-Being Week staff survey, 90% of our employees said they felt they were able speak up if they were struggling or needed help at work. By recognising that not all employees feel comfortable speaking to a manager or HR about their mental health, and training up more staff, we aim to bring this figure to 100%. 

It is not yet a legal requirement for UK businesses to have trained Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace. However, we feel that it’s important to have proactive and preventative measures when it comes to encouraging good mental health in the workplace. This is something that the public seem to agree with; a petition to make Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace compulsory has recently received more than 200,000 signatures and is being debated in parliament this month.  

Why having Mental Health First Aiders is so important 

One in four people are said to suffer with mental health problems, and it’s estimated that nearly 13% of all sick days in the UK can be attributed to mental health issues. Investing in mental health and well-being can save businesses money, but that’s not the only reason to bring in well-being schemes such as Mental Health First Aid.  

Proactively looking after your staff’s mental health and having an open and empathetic culture, where employees feel that they can speak out without fear of being treated differently, can help everyone to reach their full potential – both professionally, and personally. It reassures staff that you have their best interests at heart – that they are a person, rather than a nameless employee. Measures like this have a whole host of benefits: they can improve staff morale and reduce staff turnover, and employees are more likely to be engaged, and recommend your company to peers.  

What does the Mental Health First Aid course consist of? 

The Mental Health First Aid course will allow Mental Health First Aiders to recognise the signs that their peers may be experiencing mental health issues and give them the confidence and skills to step in and support them. This could be something as simple as having a cup of tea and a conversation with someone who lacks an external support network or encouraging someone to access further support systems such as self-help resources, the NHS or well-being benefits through their employer.  

By proactively working towards better staff well-being, we hope that we can create a happy, healthy workforce and encourage everyone at Search Laboratory to reach their full potential.