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10 Great Reasons To Make Mental Health First Aid A Legal Requirement In The UK

Written by: Richie Perera, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Richie Perera

In today's stress-filled, fast-paced society, mental health issues are acquiring increasing attention. Nevertheless, despite this growing recognition, there remains a critical void in our legislation: the absence of a legal requirement for mental health first aid in the workplace. The time has come to investigate the ten compelling reasons why this change is not merely desirable, but urgently required.

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Early recognition of warning signs


Early identification of mental health issues can prevent them from spiralling out of control, as a gardener would with vegetation. Mental health first aid training (MHFA) mandated by law in the workplace could aid in recognising and addressing mental health issues before they become overwhelming. Here’s what is taught on an MHFA course.


Stigma


Stigma is one of the most significant barriers to obtaining help for mental health issues. By normalising conversations about mental health in the workplace, we can collectively deliver a knockout blow to this pervasive stigma, nurturing an environment that is more supportive and understanding.


The influence of mental health literacy


As workplaces become incubators for mental health literacy, this information permeates the community and influences social and family conversations. As now it stands fifty percent of all mental health issues are developed by the age of 14, and two thirds by the age of twenty-three. This confirms the family environment has a major role in either the development of, or the prevention of, mental health issues. This effect could drastically alter our society's approach to mental health, generating a more compassionate and educated atmosphere.


Shaping the future


With mental health literacy, parents and carers can identify and address mental health issues in children and adolescents at an early stage. This early intervention can significantly alter their life trajectory, paving the way for a generation with greater mental resilience due to literacy in the future.


Unleashing productivity


When employees are in good mental health, they are more engaged, imaginative, and productive. With the standardisation of mental health first aid in the workplace, we can unleash this unrealised potential, thereby contributing to both personal development and economic growth. Mental wellbeing is still one of the most overlooked yet most lucrative facets to a business. Read how MHFA training can be an antidote to the three killers of company culture here.

Robust support networks


The widespread dissemination of mental health literacy facilitates the development of robust community support networks. One of the most important pillars for recovery is a supportive community. These networks therefore provide the much-needed safety net for those battling mental health issues, ensuring that no one must fight alone.


The domino effect


Mandating mental health first aid in the workplace could trigger a domino effect in the formulation of health policies. It could result in a more comprehensive integration of mental health considerations into public health planning and legislation, which would be beneficial to society as a whole. A topic I have written about in my book Managing People in the New Normal https://richieperera.com/


Easing the healthcare burden


By proactively addressing mental health in the workplace, we can alleviate the strain on our public healthcare system. This can lead to more efficient and effective health services for the benefit of all citizens. Prevention is always better than cure and literacy is a preventative and proactive measure. Currently we here in the UK are functioning on a reactive measure, where actions are taken after a problem or issue has occurred.


Embracing holistic health


Legally recognising mental health as an integral component of overall health signifies a transition towards a holistic health perspective. This workplace paradigm shift can permeate societal attitudes, ushering in an era in which mental health is valued equally to physical health. This literacy ensures that individuals understand the vital link between physical and mental well-being, recognising that both are interconnected and essential for achieving optimal health.


Cultivating a generation with mental resilience


By establishing a solid foundation of mental health literacy today, we are providing our youth with the tools they need to manage their mental health. This investment can shape a society that is not only aware of mental health issues but also supportive of them, promising a brighter future for everyone.


Not making mental health first aid a legal requirement in UK workplaces has fundamental and far-reaching consequences. Now is the time for reform. The UK must harness the power of mental health literacy, combat stigma, and cultivate a healthier, more empathetic society in which mental health is acknowledged, understood, and fostered.


At the end of the day the only true measurement of the health of an organisation is the health of the employees that is also true for the economy. In creating mentally literate workplaces with legal requirements; we not only construct better and healthier workplaces but also a better society we all can live in.

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Brainz Magazine Richie Perera
 

Richie Perera, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Richie is an award-winning CEO and Founder of Mental Health and Life, an organisation that delivers Mental Health First Aid, Race Equity and Suicide Intervention training. Richie is recognised as a global leader in people management and the author of the groundbreaking book, Managing People in the New Normal. Richie is a speaker and consultant on workplace mental health and wellbeing describing it as the most overlooked, undervalued, yet most lucrative facet of business.

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