Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week. To celebrate, we interviewed our Qualified Mental Health First Aider, Josie Charles, who offers mental health support to our colleagues.
What are your qualities as a mental health first aider?
- Caring, friendly, approachable
- Non-judgemental and understanding nature
- Active listening
What does your role entail?
As an MHFA I support our colleagues with advice of professional services, resources on how to stay healthy, self-help techniques and information on promoting good mental health. I am here for completely private and confidential conversations regarding individual’s mental health, in which I can determine what support would be best suited to that individual.
What impact does your role have and why is it rewarding?
Just the impact of allowing our colleagues access to a “safe space” where they can tell me about their mental health has been extremely positive. Colleagues have shown me nothing but gratitude and thanks throughout my time as a MHFA. Several colleagues are now seeking professional advice regarding their mental health, after speaking with me and deciding on the best solution together. In my meetings, I can support someone to talk about their mental health and make positive steps to improve it. Positive steps to improving our mental health are proven to make us live happier and healthier lives. This for me is why the role is very rewarding.
What is the importance of being a mental health first aider?
1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. Mental health (unlike physical health) is invisible, which means that it is difficult to know what your friends, family or colleagues are living with. It is incredibly important that we do not shy away from opening conversations about mental health. We believe that allowing our colleagues access to our MHFA support and resources is crucial to supporting the wellbeing of the workforce! We will constantly work on how we can further improve and encourage these conversations.