Five Steps to a Mental Health First Aid Plan For Your Workplace
Everyone knows and acknowledges the importance of first aid in the workplace.
Most businesses provide training and make sure there is a first aid kit in a sign-posted area and a designated first aid officer.
But does your company have any mental health first aid procedures in place to help with the struggles that happen beneath the surface?
Maybe your company has a morning tea on RUOkay day and you circulate an email on World Mental Health Day but are you following this up with real action, with plans and systems that support your staff when they need it most?
It’s world Mental Health Day coming up this October 10th and it’s the perfect time to review your company’s Mental Health First Aid plans and procedures. We’ve got five steps to implement a mental health first aid plan in your workplace.
It starts with education
In order to have a mental health first aid plan in place it’s important to open a dialogue about mental health in the workplace. Talk with your Human Resources Director about the role they have to play and find some good resources online about how to get a discussion started on mental health in the workplace.
Train your staff
Mental health awareness and sensitivity training can go a long way to helping your staff to recognise and assist other staff members experiencing mental health issues. Teach your staff to recognise the signs that someone is suffering silently and create an environment where they feel safe to voice concerns and supported when they reach out.
Walk the walk
If you’re going to talk the talk and hold a morning tea for mental health or circulate an email about active listening, you need to walk the walk and provide real support systems and structure for your staff and their mental health needs.
You can start small by having resources available to your staff on stress management and encouraging staff to take mental health care days where needed. And then scale up to offering subsided mental health support. The important thing is to take real action and support your staff where you can.
Teach your Staff the ALGEE action plan
The ALGEE action plan is an acronym created by Mental Health First Aid Australia, a not-for-profit organisation committed to mental health training and research.
The ALGEE action plan outlines five steps to implement in your workplace mental health first aid.
ALGEE stands for:
A – Approach, Assess and Assist. They advise that if you are worried about someone you should carefully consider the most appropriate and productive time to approach them about it. Assess for signs of crisis and assist the person if they are in crisis.
L – Listen non-judgmentally. A person in crisis needs to feel heard without feeling judged. Listen non-judgmentally and show them that you care.
G – Give support and information. Give this person whatever support you are able to whether it be emotional or practical. Offer useful and accurate information such as website resources that can help them to understand and tackle what they are going through.
E – Encourage appropriate professional help. Mental health issues can be effectively treated and managed through professional medical care. Encourage the person to seek the appropriate professional help.
E – Encourage other supports. Encourage the person to use self-help strategies and to seek healthy and helpful support through friends and family rather than condoning the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
You can find a more in depth breakdown of the ALGEE action plan for mental health first aid here.
Mental health is important at all levels of the business. Implementing a mental health first aid plan helps you and your staff to work more effectively together and boosts employee morale.
Mental health in the workplace is more important than ever. As we tackle a global pandemic, we need to acknowledge that the isolation and economic uncertainty will have long-term effects our mental health.
All businesses have an obligation to their staff to start taking mental health first aid as seriously they do fire drills and other forms of first aid.