Mental Health First Aiders can be used to comabt COVID-19

The notion has been put forward that mental health first aiders should be used in the fight against COVID-19 as the spread of the virus is adding to employees’ stress, anxiety, and social isolation.

This is the opinion of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, as the rise of remote working can lead to an increase in the amount of loneliness an employee may feel.

Duncan Stephenson, deputy chief executive at the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), said:

This is an unprecedented period of anxiety for many people in the UK and the population’s mental health is paramount at this time. We fully applaud the work of Mental Health First Aid England’s network to help people through it and signpost to mental health supports.

We know Mental Health First Aiders provide excellent support in the workplace. It will be fantastic to see this work translated to community settings and remote working as we manage the mental health challenges associated with this outbreak.

This comes as MHFA England has launched the My Whole Self campaign on 18/03/20 “a national campaign encouraging people to feel empowered to be their authentic self, wherever they work”.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said:

Everyone at some point in their lives will be affected by poor mental health, whether that’s through personal experience or supporting someone else.

As a country we are talking more openly about mental health. But there’s much more employers can do to create inclusive cultures where people feel able to be themselves.

Culture change starts at the top. Encouraging people to talk can help remove the stigma around mental health and people are more likely to seek the support they need, when they need it. It is particularly vital at the moment that people feel able to reach out for help.

With many more people working remotely or in changed circumstances due to Coronavirus, and as we join MHFA England in marking My Whole Self Day online, it’s important that we continue to build and strengthen connections with colleagues at this challenging time.