Raising your profile as a Mental Health First Aider

Make the difference you’d like as a Mental Health First Aider.

At the recent Protea Solutions MHFAiders Networking and Support group, ideas were shared which have been collated to enable you to consider how they apply in your organisation.

Raising your profile as a Mental Health First Aider

To make the difference you would like as a Mental Health First Aider it is helpful to consider what is happening in your organisation.

  • The barriers preventing people talking to you.
  • How you might overcome these.
  • Ideas to raise your profile

Potential Barriers

  • Lack of understanding of your role, who you are and how to contact you.
  • Fears about confidentiality and whether things they talk about will be shared.
  • Thinking they are not ‘ill enough’ and their symptoms don’t warrant talking to someone. Thinking that it has to be a crisis to talk to a MHFA.
  • Concerns about sharing personal things with colleagues that they know and work alongside.
  • Remote working can make it harder to initiate contact with a MHFA. It is not as easy as seeking them out when in a shared working environment.

Overcoming the Barriers

  • Produce clear communications that set out who you are, what you do and how to contact you. Include information on concerns people might have eg confidentiality.  Give communications a personal feel so they don’t read like a standard business briefing.
  • All employees need to understand what is meant by mental wellbeing and mental illness. If all staff are trained this will help reduce stigma so people feel able to talk about how they are feeling.
  • Produce profiles of each MHFAider that shares a bit about them, perhaps as passport format. This will make them seem more approachable if an employee feels they know them as a person.
  • Consider the influencers in your organisation and ask them to share their story and experience of mental illness. This is particularly powerful if senior leaders.  Stories can help normalise mental illness.  The stories may also relate to experiences of supporting others through mental ill health.
  • Take opportunities to network and build relationships internally, so when things feel tough people find it easier to contact you.
  • Spell out the sort of things people can talk about, don’t assume people will know. Include a few scenarios as examples.
  • Testimonials – people sharing their experience of MHFA. This can be done anonymously.  Although as part of reducing stigma it would be even better if people felt able to be open.
  • Build up a virtual library of resources. This may include information sheets, lived experience films, awareness days resources, etc.
  • Create multiple ways to be contacted – phone, email, internal messaging systems, so people can use whatever they find most comfortable.
  • Work with other wellbeing initiatives to promote MHFA as an integrated approach to employee wellbeing.
  • Include your MHFA badge on your email signature.
  • Wear your action card on your work lanyard or have a special lanyard to identify you.
  • Put items on your intranet about mental health and reference MHFA.
  • Identify different awareness days and which align with supporting mental health, then promote them.
  • Include wellbeing as a regular item in team meetings – and not as a last thought!
  • When back in the office, the simplest methods can be some of the most effective – posters on the back of toilet cubicle doors. It is where people go when they are feeling upset!

 

When we are working to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health it is important to reinforce the message that we all have mental health and that there is no health without mental health. 

Contact us for details

Protea Solutions offers networking opportunities for MHFAiders and provide internal support for MHFA networks, contact us for more info.

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