Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace

It’s been a tough year.

We’ve all felt the impact of isolation, loss and loneliness as COVID-19 has swept across the globe. We’re pretty resilient creatures but adapting to a new way of working, not seeing our loved ones and being restricted in our movements has had a huge impact on our mental health as a nation with 62% of adults feeling anxious or worried when the first Lockdown was announced in March 2020. But now we’re finally emerging from lockdown and starting to see friends and family again. Things are starting to feel like they are getting back to normal (in a socially distanced manner of course). A UCL COVID-19 study has found that anxiety and depression levels are falling as lockdown measures are lifting with the Mental Health Foundation reporting that anxiety and worry due to the stress of the pandemic have declined significantly to 42% in late February 2021.

So now we’re feeling better about the pandemic which is a huge step forward for our mental health; the time is coming to head back to the workplace and, more importantly, continue the conversation about how we’re feeling.

There is a lot of mixed thoughts about returning to the workplace with some excited to be socialising again whilst others may be feeling anxious about returning to busy commutes. But it’s not just the after-effects of a lockdown we’re coping with. Anybody can experience mental ill health at any time – this could be during a pandemic or just going through the motions of our everyday ‘normal’ lives. In fact, we are all on an ever-fluctuating continuum between mental illness and mental wellbeing. It can potentially impact every area of our lives; how we eat and sleep, how productive and we are, our careers and relationships as well as our physical health.


Prioritising Mental Health at work

Many of us spend more time at work than we do with our friends and family so it makes sense to us here at Joseph Homes that we have people in place within the work environment who can help and support colleagues coming back to the office, dealing with yet another adjustment just as we were all getting comfortable working remotely and living in our loungewear.

In a company with under 50 employees, we are proud to have three of our amazing staff trained in this area. They have an important role to play. They are there to listen, reassure and respond, in a crisis – and even before a crisis happens. They’ve undergone training to help empower people to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of mental ill health symptoms. And we know they are there to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the workplace and beyond.

Do you have Mental Health First Aiders in your workplace? You should.

It’s vital for our colleagues to feel they have someone to talk to without judgement whenever they might need help. Our colleagues trained with MHFA England with a two-day course that teaches in-depth skills for providing first aid to people who may be experiencing mental health issues. We were inspired to get people on the course after learning about Mental Health First Aiders from our engagement with Mates in Mind, a UK charity that raises awareness and addressing the stigma of poor mental health, promoting positive mental well being across workplaces. You can read more about our work with them in this blog post.


Did you know about Mental Health Awareness Week?

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, it’s another great opportunity for us to talk and raise awareness. This year they’ve chosen the theme nature to help inspire people to connect with the outdoors in new ways as well as convince decision-makers at all levels that access to nature is a mental health and social justice issue, as well as an environmental one – something which aligns with our values of ensuring the neighbourhoods we create always include open green spaces. And if they don’t exist, we create them. Because everyone needs to have access to nature, with a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation reporting that 45% of people felt that being in green space was vital for their Mental Health.

Our team are using this week to connect with colleagues through a series of nature-themed activities including walks, meditation sessions and tips for bringing nature into the home, to help promote wellbeing and mental health. Why not take the opportunity to connect to nature and take some time for yourself this week?

Let’s keep the conversation going about Mental Health. During times of crisis and during the route back to normality, it’s something we should all be prioritising for the good of our teams.

Be well.


Helpful Resources

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness week as well as extensive research into how the pandemic has affected our Mental Health: Mental Health Foundation

The charity that inspired us to introduce Mental Health First Aiders to our workplace, focussing on wellbeing in the construction industry: Mates in Mind

Inspired to introduce Mental Health First Aiders to your workplace? You’ll want to visit: MHFA England

A great resource for those looking to help with coaching for addressing Mental Health in the workplace: Sanctus


Image: Medical vector created by pikisuperstar –

Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace - Joseph Homes Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace - Joseph Homes
Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace - Joseph Homes Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace - Joseph Homes
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