Mental Health First Aid Australia is committed to providing high quality, evidenced based mental health first aid education to everyone.
We believe that every workplace should help promote good mental health, prevent mental illness and have the tools to support people with mental health problems.
To do this, we believe that:
- Every workplace should offer Mental Health First Aid training to their workers.
- Every worksite should appoint at least the same number of Mental Health First Aid Officers as First Aid Officers.
The information below can be used to guide the implementation of Mental Health First Aid in your workplace.
What is a Mental Health First Aid Officer?
A Mental Health First Aid Officer is an Accredited Mental Health First Aider appointed in their workplace to:
- Provide mental health first aid within their worksite as needed, at their level of competence and training
- Escalate any matters if required in a prompt and appropriate fashion according to their relevant organisational policy and procedures.
What can workplaces do to support early intervention for people with mental health problems?
Your workplace could:
- Offer Mental Health First Aid training to all workers.
- Encourage workers who have completed Mental Health First Aid training to become an Accredited Mental Health First Aider.
- Develop and implement a Mental Health First Aid policy
- Appoint a number of suitable and willing Accredited Mental Health First Aiders as Mental Health First Aid Officers
- Support and promote these Mental Health First Aid Officers across the worksite
- Establish a broad, diverse and accessible network of Mental Health First Aid Officers across a workplace.
What can a Mental Health First Aid policy address?
A Mental Health First Aid policy should address:
- The workplace's commitment to cultivating a workplace where:
- Mental health problems are understood without stigma
- Worker-wellbeing is paramount
- Workers know how to respond appropriately and effectively to people with mental health problems.
- The role of Mental Health First Aid Officers
- The importance and limits of confidentiality.
When implementing this policy, workplaces need to take into account:
- The training received via Mental Health First Aid Australia, including delivery method, logistics, costs, availability, and target group
- The workplace's size and needs (e.g. could the nature of the workplace's work potentiality increase the chance of workers experiencing mental health problems?)
- Whether the workplace requires assistance to prepare a policy from Workplace Health and Safety advisers or legal advisers.
What can workplaces do now?
If your workplace hasn't already done so, it should consider organising for workers to be trained in Mental Health First Aid and encouraging them to be Accredited Mental Health First Aiders.
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Lendlease is a leading international property and infrastructure group located in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and with around 12,600 employees worldwide, Lendlease’s capabilities span the entire property value chain. A global health assessment of the organisation in 2013 revealed that 16 per cent of employees globally were at high risk of developing depression and just over 9 per cent experienced stress related to work.
MHFA officers are to be found in Lendlease project teams and offices across Australia and comprise a mix of site foremen, HR professionals, engineers, sustainability officers, shopping centre employees and retirement village managers. MHFA officers are selected based on their “lived” or professional experience with mental illness, as well as the completion of pre-requisite mental health programs available via the company.
So far, more than 230 employees globally have been accredited as MHFA Officers, 150 of who are in the company’s Australian operation. There have been multiple instances where officers have been able to step in and help out; leaving leadership teams confident that they have people in place they can count on in an emergency or when the situation dictates.