Mental Health Training : Supporting a happier and healthier workforce - By Kirsty Whyte

Mental Health Training : Supporting a happier and healthier workforce - By Kirsty Whyte


Most of our adult life is spent working. In fact, the average person will consume 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime, therefore, it’s clear that your job can have a huge impact on your quality of life.

Last month welcomed “Mental Health Awareness Week” and highlighted the importance of discussing mental health in any environment; however, the number of reported work-related mental health cases are on the rise.

The “Time to Change” mental health campaign cites that 1 in 6 British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety and depression each year. 6.6 million working days are lost as a result of this. Despite the growing figures, mental health stigma in the workplace remains an issue.

Today, it’s a myth that people with mental health issues can’t work. With the right support, they perform vital roles in workplaces across the UK. For attitudes to change, there needs to be an open dialogue between employers and employees.  

By not addressing mental health, companies are suffering detrimental losses, with mental health issues costing employers around £35bn every year. According to the Centre for Mental Health, £21.2bn of this is in reduced productivity, £10.6bn in sickness absence and £3.1bn in staff turnover, however, it is impossible to determine the exact statistics as many mental health issues at work go unreported or are masked as something else.

As workers we continue to diversify the workplace, adapting to new technology and exploring smarter ways of working, therefore, mental health should be embraced with the same proactive approach and not be dismissed or go unnoticed, which is often the case.  

Under the Health and Safety Act at Work 1974 (HASAWA) it is an employer’s duty to ensure the health and safety of employees is protected. Whilst first aid training is a staple of the workplace, mental health training is practically unheard of. First aid training equips employers with the skills to protect the physical welfare of their employees, however, there is a lack of training to support the mental well-being of the workforce.

Omniscient Safety Innovations (OSI) has recognised this need and are offering a new “First Aid in Mental Health” course. This course will enable successful candidates to detect mental health concerns in their peers, enabling them to reach out and successfully apply the “CARE” technique. It allows companies to understand mental health, identifying conditions, providing advice and starting a conversation. It covers a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar and schizophrenia.

Brett Townsley, Managing Director of OSI said “All employers have a common law legal duty of care to protect as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees. This duty extends to include mental health in the workplace, and that’s why, at OSI, we believe it is essential to have skilled competent personnel to support our friends and colleagues in their day to day routines.”

“At OSI we are very proud to be able to train personnel in both mental health awareness and mental health first aid. We are also working closely with Scottish Enterprise to bring an innovative approach and technologies into the market-place to change not only the way we identify mental health concerns but also to change the culture within the industry with regards to mental health.”

Neglecting basic mental health support can be damaging to both human and economic potential. By bringing health and safety standards up to speed, companies can create a healthier, happier and more supportive workplace where every individual can thrive. By taking the first step towards mental health training, businesses can create a more inclusive environment with improved employee engagement, reduced sickness absence and better retention rates.

How to identify depression – key indicators:

  • Avoidance - contact with family and friends
  • Avoidance - of social events, settings
  • Avoidance - of hobbies or activities
  • Deterioration in work performance
  • Apathy - lack of interest or motivation
  • A sense of hopelessness, low self-esteem
  • Intolerance - things that would not have previously affected you, but now creates irritation
  • Disturbed sleep pattern
  • Change in sex drive
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Thoughts of harm or suicide

For more information on the Omniscient Safety Innovations “First Aid in Mental Health” course visit www.omniscientsafetyinnovations.com or contact the team on 07852 281224 or to book, contact


Published: 24-06-2019
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