Corby employers urged to train mental health first aiders

Customer Interaction Team Manager Anita Keefe, Occupational Health Advisor Gladys and Global Product Manager Marcin Szczypka. NNL-171219-102911005
Customer Interaction Team Manager Anita Keefe, Occupational Health Advisor Gladys and Global Product Manager Marcin Szczypka. NNL-171219-102911005

Health bosses in Corby have urged businesses in the town to train people in mental health first aid.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.

RS Components has more than 2,000 employees on site and has trained 15 of their staff members in MHFA so they can recognise the signs of anxiety, depression and many more mental health conditions.

RS Components occupational health advisor Gladys Mazani said: “Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists, but they can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.

“The role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

“This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help.

“As well as in a crisis, Mental Health First Aiders are valuable in providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue.”

In the same way as learning physical first aid, MHFA teaches people how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support.

Corby CCG appointed Dr Nathan Spencer as mental health lead for Northamptonshire last year.

His remit was to implement a cross county plan and since being in post waiting times have improved for psychological therapies and recovery with 3,510 extra appointments last year.

Dr Spencer said: “As commissioners we are doing what we can to provide mental health services for the people of Corby, but we must but we all must work together to address this issue.

“The CCG wants to encourage as many employers in the town to follow RS Components’ lead.

“Embedding this training within the workplace community encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture all round.”

The CCG is also urging people who may be facing mental health challenges to call the NHS counselling service self-referral telephone number on 0300 9991616 and to visit the Crisis Café.

The Sanctuary Crisis Café at 18 Argyle Street, Corby, is open three evenings a week (Thursdays 6pm to 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays 7pm to 11pm) and a Sunday late afternoon (3pm to 7pm).

During these hours residents are free to drop in and sit and chat with the Mind team over a hot drink.

Mental Health First Aiders are trained to:

•Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health

•Start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress

•Listen to the person non-judgementally

•Assess the risk of suicide or self-harm

•Encourage the person to access appropriate professional support or self-help strategies. This might include encouraging access to internal support systems such as EAPs or in-house counselling services

•Escalate to the appropriate emergency services, if necessary

•Maintain confidentiality as appropriate

•Complete critical incident documents as and when necessary

•Protect themselves while performing their role