Should Mental Health First Aid become Law?

A new law requiring businesses to offer mental health first aid training has been presented to parliament.

As stated in the press in January; Tory MP Dean Russell told the Commons the move will lead to more people spotting the early signs of mental health issues in the workplace.

Many businesses already offer mental health training to first aiders, but it is not a legal requirement.

Mr Russell told MPs that requiring mental health first aid training in the workplace would save lives.

“People do not always wear bandages to show where they have anxiety and depression,” he told MPs.

“This Bill will simply mean that workers have a person to signpost them to the help and support they need, when they need it.”

The idea has been discussed for several years. In 2018, a petition for the “Where’s Your Head At!” campaign for a mandatory mental health first aider in every place of work attracted more than 200,000 signatures.

The extra training would come at a cost to businesses, but campaigners highlight the growing number of workdays lost to poor mental health.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that mental illness accounted for around half of all cases of sick leave last year .

‘Prevent losing others’

Mr Russell believes the change could limit the long-term impact on businesses and the NHS, and ultimately save lives.

“We cannot bring back those we have lost,” he said.

“But through early intervention and ensuring the right signposting at the right time, through this Bill we could possibly prevent losing others in the future.”

Mr Russell proposed the new law as a Ten Minute Rule Bill last week – there is rarely enough time for Ten Minute Rule Bills to become law – but they represent an avenue for MPs to raise awareness of issues.

Mr Russel attempt to bring forward similar legislation in 2021, but the Bill failed to go any further. Addressing the Health Minister directly, Mr. Russell said, “This is not a request that will go away and I will be back if needed. It is a simple change that will make a massive difference.”

What do you think? As people who care about the whole self we think this is an important step in recognising mental health is indeed about our overall health and is interlinked with physical health and overall wellbeing of a person.

Published by Jane Thompson

Jane Thompson, Freelance Marketing Consultant

4 thoughts on “Should Mental Health First Aid become Law?

  1. Hi Jane,
    I do pastoral support work in business as part of my interfaith ministry, (and alongside my executive coaching practice), and I meet a lot of employees who are struggling with their mental health. I did the MHFA training recently and would say it is valuable. It has given me the confidence that what I am doing to support employees is right, and I learned some new things too. There are many aspects to mental health and the training (and the comprehensive materials/manual that comes with it) provides a lot of essential background information.

    Rev. Clare

    1. Hi Clare good to hear from you again. The MHFA training is excellent and I’m pleased to say CWC will be offering this very soon so we hope to reach more managers, team leaders, chaplains and HR professionals who want to be trained and impart what they learn to support others. Kind regards, Jane

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