Mental Health First Aid may be an excellent place to start mental health provision within your organisation. If this is being considered, or if you already have MHFA in place, that’s great.
MHFA is based on protocols around the acronym ALGEE. In this action plan, given to champions trained by MHFA England, the letters stand for the following when being used to deliver the MHFA protocols to people who may need help, support and assistance:
- A – Approach / Assess for crisis / Assist with crisis
- L – Listen and communicate non-judgementally
- G – Give support and information
- E – Encourage appropriate professional help
- E – Encourage other supports
Without doubt, the value in MHFA is going to depend on what ‘appropriate professional help’ you have in place.
If your ‘professional help’ is limited to a GP, the NHS or your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), your intervention and support may simply be a signpost to a waiting list, inappropriate therapy and long-term use of prescribed medication. So, your MHFA initiative actually adds no value at all, and what was initially a positive step, will quickly lose value when employees realise that nothing has changed.
SAS-fit has a range of products available, so that we can provide you with an end-to-end strategy, such as proactive computer-based training, stress/anxiety workshops, bespoke therapy with a high percentage of proven efficacy and residential care for those long-standing and deep-seated complex cases, even those cases that have not responded to previous intervention. With a number of pricing options, they can deliver a bespoke initiative to deliver all of your aims and objectives, at a price to fit your budget.
SAS-fit has a nationwide network of highly trained therapists, with knowledge and experience in treating even the most complex cases. Referral to SAS-fit gives your employee access to modern, leading-edge therapy that is not available from a GP, the NHS or your EAP.
SAS-fit has pioneered some unique therapies of their own, such as Functional Integrated Therapy (FIT), Timeline and Three-way Trauma Therapy (4T) and developed a number of tools that they use to assess each individual case, before delivering a bespoke, fluid, treatment plan. This is not a ‘One size fits all’ approach that is available from other welfare service providers, our treatment is designed to identify the root-cause of the issue and treat the life story, the story of the symptoms and how each person is affected, rather than the diagnostic label that has been given.
Working collaboratively with our valued service partners, SAS-fit are a one stop shop for all of your mental health needs. If you are looking to deliver investment and engagement for your employees, you may want to consider educating all of your people, not just the chosen few.
Things to think about if you are considering MHFA as your initial investment in employee mental wellbeing:
1) Why not consider educating all of your employees, rather than the chosen few?
Your legal role and responsibility are to offer equal support for all of your employees. Whilst MHFA is a positive step, it only educates the chosen few and may lead to litigation in the longer term.
2) Who manages the mental health of your MHFA champions?
Once you have identified the people you want to train in MHFA and they return to the workplace to begin delivering support to their colleagues, who is responsible for their wellbeing? There is no doubt that being a champion will add to their workload, and may be affected themselves. A MHFA champion is not a trained therapist, they are trained only in triage, similar to their physiological equivalent (Think St John’s Ambulance).
3) Will your MHFA champions always be available and have the time to offer support?
There have been some horror stories in the press about MHFA champions being contacted, outside of working hours, by colleagues in crisis or in need of help, support and assistance. Does your Mental Health policy accurately outline the role and responsibility of the MHFA champion?
4) Will your MHFA champions be consistent in their delivery?
Without doubt, one of the greatest challenges for a MHFA champion is delivering unbiased, non-judgemental support. What if your employee has a poor relationship with their MHFA champion? What if the MHFA champion is their line-manager and is actually the root-cause of the employee’s symptoms? What if your MHFA champion already has a mental health condition but hasn’t told you because of the stigma of mental health in your organisation?
5) Will MHFA give you a return on your investment?
The cost of training MHFA champions is quite reasonable, but how do you measure the return on your investment? Do you have the ability to spot absence trends? Do you have a reporting structure in place to identify the areas of your business that are contributing negatively to mental health? Do you have a suitable welfare service provider to signpost to?
Why not consider speaking to SAS-fit so that you have a full understanding of alternative products on the market? If you do, you may see opportunities that would be missed by following the trend of investing in MHFA. If you do, you may save money on investing more wisely and significantly increase the return on your investment.
If you have already invested in MHFA, SAS-fit would enhance your initiative and offer unprecedented levels of support for your MHFA champions.
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