Mental health has been a growing concern in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the stress and uncertainty of the past year has taken a toll on the nation’s mental well-being. In response to this, Dean Russell MP for Watford, has reintroduced his “First Aid (Mental Health) Bill” in the House of Commons, calling for mental health first-aid to be made part of regular first-aid training requirements for employers.
The bill is a response to the growing concern about the impact of poor mental health on the nation’s well-being and the economy. Workplace health data has shown that stress, depression or anxiety has been the leading cause of lost working days since the 1990s. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that nearly 1 million workers suffer from stress, depression, or anxiety relating to their employment.
Including mental health first-aid as part of regular first-aid training is an important step towards addressing the issue and promoting mental well-being in the workplace. Providing employers with the knowledge and skills to identify and address mental health concerns in the workplace will not only benefit the health of the nation but also improve business productivity and economic growth.
As Dean Russell stated in his speech in the House of Commons, “It is absolutely right that every workplace has a physical first aider on site, this bill would simply extend that to ensure mental health is on a par with physical health. Our collective experience of Covid pushed our focus on physical health, and now we need to realign our priorities to ensure we also focus on mental wellbeing.”
The bill received no objections and will go through to a second reading on 24th February, signalling a step forward in addressing the mental health concerns of the nation.
As a consultant in health and wellbeing, Mike Lawrence welcomes the bill and agrees with Dean Russell’s perspective. He recognises the importance of addressing mental health in the workplace and sees this bill as a crucial step towards promoting mental wellbeing and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
So, what do you think?
- Do you agree that mental health first aid is needed in the workplace?
- How important do you think having a trained workplace mental health first aider is?
- If applicable, does your workplace currently have a mental health first aider?
- Would you be interested in becoming a mental health first aider?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or email me.