Why did you choose to become a Mental Health First Aider?

Alice Richards, Client services

From a personal perspective, close family members have suffered severely from poor mental health and I have experienced the emotional impact this can have on wider family. I wanted to be able to spot signs in people who are suffering and be there to listen, empathise and offer forms of support. I would like to think of myself as a positive and open person, so genuinely would put the time aside to listen if anyone wanted to talk.

Why do you think it’s important to understand mental health at work?

Paul Callaby, Creative

Some of the symptoms of poor mental health can be seen more clearly in people at work. Also it’s a lot easier to approach someone familiar as oppose to booking an appointment with a health professional, a quick chat with a familiar face could lead to a long term solution. 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a Mental Health First Aider?

Fran Payne, Creative

Be prepared to hear some scary truths and some disturbing stories – but to emerge from training feeling much better informed, and like you could genuinely help someone who was having a mental health crisis. There’s a misconception around MHFAs that their role is to help diagnose and counsel people who are having difficulties, but that’s not the way it works. We’re taught an important process that helps us initiate conversations, reassure and support without attempting to counsel, and then to guide the individual towards the appropriate means of professional support.

Why did you choose to become a Mental Health First Aider?

Victoria Lewis, Talent

Working in the Talent Team, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be part of celebrating people’s positive life experiences; welcoming people to their new job, helping people organise their maternity leave and seeing people progress and develop. But I also find myself working with people going through tough times like the loss of a loved one, performance management, physical pain and poor mental health such as depression and attempted suicide. I saw the training as a great way to build my knowledge on mental health so I feel more informed about how I can help and support people through these times.  

Share something you learned that surprised you.

Sarah Richardson, Talent

Something that stood out is that everyone in the world has “mental health”. It’s a state of mind, it doesn’t have to be perceived negatively. The training refers to mental health being on a spectrum. It can vary from day to day, but we all experience it at some stage in our lives, in different severities. It’s nice to know we’re all in this together.


Why do you think it’s important to understand mental health at work?

Jennifer Pyne, Consultancy

Because it’s 2019. We are experiencing a watershed moment for awareness and acknowledgement of mental health challenges in society. Statistics show that, more often than not, most people experience some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime. Whether issues are diagnosed or not, the struggle is very real. Our personal lives and state of mind are inextricably connected to who we are at work, so the more that we can break up the stigma surrounding mental health, the better these interconnected lives can coexist. 

How can people get support from you if they need it?

Laura Studd, Talent

Just by reaching out, I feel it can often be good to get a bit of head space, even if that’s going for a walk and talk.

Share something you learned that surprised you.

Sharn Kleiss, Consultancy

I was worried about ‘putting my foot in it’ when talking about mental health with friends and colleagues, but doing the course helped reframe that for me - we are all just humans and listening is the key! 

Why did you choose to become a Mental Health First Aider?

Sally Robson, Client services

I know how mental health issues can affect your ability to work, and in turn how this can exacerbate those issues. An understanding and supportive employer and working environment can make a huge difference. Although there is increasing recognition that mental health is a subject that has to be addressed, it’s still difficult to talk about when you’re in a dark place or feeling shit, and worried about being judged or stigmatised. I’d like to be able to help change this.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a Mental Health First Aider?

Tia Wedderburn, Film

It’s great to have this information and helps you see things with a different perspective; mental health is as important as physical health, everyone is on a scale. It has many different variations and levels and chances are we will all struggle with ours at some point. I also think it makes you more aware of your own health. Remember being a MHFA doesn’t mean you that you have all the answers, you are there as a first point of contact, a friendly face, and you’re not qualified to make a diagnosis…so no pressure.

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