Our New Mental Health Champions Initiative

A report from the first of our ongoing series of Mental Health First Aid courses

Last week saw #TimeToTalk day. We wanted to keep the conversation alive and put focus specifically on mental health awareness within the workplace. It could be argued that stigmas surrounding mental health issues still exist at work.

Did you know that 1 in 6 people within the workplace experience mental health problems? That 12.7% of sickness days in the U.K. are attributed to mental health conditions? That people within the workplace suppress and avoid talking about their mental health at work due to the fear of discrimination?

At Achieve together we recognised that this was a problem faced by every company, and only by taking actions into our own hands could we help breakdown these national barriers and alarming statistics. This is why we created our Mental Health Champions. Our Mental Health Champions undergo specialist mental health first aid training provided by Mental Health First Aid England.  Achieve together place great importance on mental health and wellbeing and are delighted that our first cohort of Champions have successfully passed their training.

We spoke to Shirley from our Mental Health and Wellbeing Team to find out more about the Mental Health Champion Initiative. She explains:  “The MHFA Champions course is an intensive 2 day level 3 course that supports the champions to gain the knowledge to recognise a wide range of mental health conditions and learn about the support/therapy provided by professional healthcare providers.

“They learn how to start a supportive conversation and when and how to signpost a person to seek appropriate professional help. On completion of the course they will be able to recognise and manage stress and understand the impact of substance abuse. Champions learn about the first aid action plan for mental health, and learn how to put it in place and understand how to implement a positive mental health culture in the workplace. Champions gain the knowledge to identify when a person may have a condition and know where to signpost those to get help.”

Diana, one of the champions within the first passing cohort, said: “I found the training fascinating – we covered so many different aspects of mental health, and all the different ways in which it can show up. Importantly, we were given information on where people can get help with certain issues, and where to direct people for specific support.

“The reason I did the training, was so that I can provide an ear to listen if need be, and to offer understanding and empathy for anyone going through a challenging time. The pandemic has increased a sense of isolation, and people can feel lonely – so it’s good to have people to talk to. I’m looking forward to seeing how this initiative will grow and develop further over time… “

A big well done to our first cohort of champions! We look forward to the seeing the positive impact you will have on our amazing team members.