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Mental Health First Aid

Welcome to the Mental Health First Aid page of the Health and Safety Directorate.

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Promoting positive mental health in the workplace

Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with normal pressures of everyday life. Positive mental health is rarely an absolute state. Factors both in and out of work affect the mental health of staff and move them up or down a spectrum that ranges from good to poor.

Anyone can suffer a period of mental ill health. It can emerge suddenly, as a result of a specific event, or gradually, where it worsens over time. It can range from feeling stressed to common conditions such as anxiety and depression and, in limited cases, to sever mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

The Government’s Department of Health advises that one in four of us with experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. Staff with positive mental health are more likely to work productively, interact with colleagues and adapt to changes in the workplace. Staff who feel unable to talk to their manager about their mental health may attend work when they are too ill to carry out their duties, which may be a health and safety risk.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

First aid is the help given to a person who is ill or injured before professional medical treatment can be obtained. The aims of any first aid are to preserve life, to prevent further harm, to promote recovery and to provide comfort to the person who is ill or injured.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) can be applied to a person developing a mental health issue, a person experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health issue or to a person in a mental health crisis.Wider aims of MHFA are to raise awareness of mental health issues in the community and to reduce stigma and discrimination.

Role of a Queen Mary MHFAider

The primary role of a mental health first aider is to administer mental health first aid to any person suffering with mental ill-health on QMUL premises with the aim of:

  • Preserving life where a person may be at risk of harm to themselves or others
  • Providing help to prevent the mental health issue from becoming more serious before professional help arrives
  • Promoting the recovery of good mental health
  • Providing comfort to a person with a mental health issue
  • Raising awareness of mental health issues in the community
  • Reducing stigma and discrimination

Duties of a Queen Mary MHFAider

  • Respond promptly when requested
  • Administer mental health first aid appropriate to the level of qualification and as per training
  • Know how to secure additional help when needed
  • Support other mental health first aiders as required
  • Comply with requirements for certification
  • Improve own health and reduce stigma
  • Advise the departmental Safety Coordinator or Line Manager of intended absence, such as annual leave so that cover can be arranged
  • To keep confidentiality unless individual is at risk of harm to themselves or others

Stress Container Exercise [DOC 36KB]

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