Dimensions has announced a new “Mental Health First Aiders” scheme to its working practices
Includability Official Partner, Dimensions has announced a new “Mental Health First Aiders” scheme to its working practices in which 80 members of staff have undergone accredited training from Mental Health First Aid England.
The newly qualified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) will be based around the country and will be on hand to provide support to fellow members of staff who may be experiencing poor mental health or emotional distress.
Why did Dimensions introduce mental health first aiders?
Dimensions believe that providing good, timely and effective support to staff experiencing poor mental health is a way of putting organisational values into practice. They say good quality mental health support can genuinely make a positive difference to colleagues’ wellbeing at work.
Organisations that have made a similar investment in MHFAs typically see fewer days’ absence due to mental health issues.
The MHFAs have been trained to support staff who may be experiencing poor mental health. Mental Health First Aiders can help their colleagues:
- Acting as a point of contact to reassure colleagues in emotional distress or experiencing poor mental health
- Listen non-judgmentally and hold supportive conversations
- Signpost to professional help
- Identify the signs and symptoms for a range of mental health conditions
- Use a five-step action plan to assist someone experiencing a mental health issue
Although this is an important step in helping fellow staff in the workplace, mental health first aiders are not able to provide full counselling or provide diagnoses, like physical first aiders are not able to provide full medical care. The MHFAs are also not expected to be available outside of working hours.
What are the benefits of MHFAs to the business?
Dimensions employees can access 24/7 confidential advice through the Dimensions Employee Assistance Programme? if they require more assistance.
Sarah Walters, Campaigns Manager and Mental Health First Aider at Dimensions, commented:
“Dimensions has 80 trained Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA), who work across the organisation to provide support for colleagues who may be struggling with their mental health, including a 'MHFA Matter Group' that consists of eight MHFAs responsible for ensuring our vision for creating a healthy workplace is embedded across the organisation and proactively lived out on a daily basis. This is an important part of our mission to deliver ‘better lives for more people’ and we couldn't be prouder of the colleagues who provide this service across Dimensions.
“As a MHFA, it has been so rewarding to see the real difference which can be made simply by being there for colleagues. Having someone there to talk to, who is trained to listen and support you in the right way, can often be the biggest help when someone is struggling. Challenges which were daunting at first may not ultimately seem so insurmountable as a result of having access to Mental Health First Aiders. Our role as MHFAs is to be there when our colleagues feel as though they have nobody to turn to. My message to anyone who feels this way is: please don’t be afraid to come and use us – it’s what we’re here for.”