Two of Amphigean’s Health Advocates recently attended a Mental Health First Aid workshop in Workington. This forms part of our Better Health at Work Award, a scheme focused on improving wellbeing in the workplace and we all know that mental health is just as important as physical.
There are different ways of defining mental health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes health in general as: “…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” On mental health specifically, the WHO identifies an “emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment and sadness.”
Many people with mental health issues don’t receive any professional help. It can be a major cause of long-term disability worldwide and ranks highly on the scale of disease burden in developed countries, alongside cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Research indicates that one in four of us will experience mental health difficulties in any given year, so learning more about it is crucial in giving us the tools and support we need.
The Mental Health First Aid training days outlined how to spot the early signs of a mental health issue, including warning signs of common crises, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person towards appropriate treatment and other sources of supportive help. Although perceptions about it have improved significantly with wider discussion in society and many celebrities sharing their own struggles, there is still a stigma attached to this. It can lead to people internalising the problem and not seeking the support network they need.
The training days also set out an action plan on how to help a person in a mental health crisis, using the mnemonic ALGEE:
– Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
– Listen and communicate non-judgementally
– Give support and information
– Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
– Encourage other supports
At Amphigean we are also conscious that physical fitness has a role to play in keeping our minds and bodies in good order. In the last few months, we challenged ourselves to record our daily step counts, and the person with the highest number received a voucher for a local outdoor clothing store! Further challenges have been set by popular demand. As a final thought, in building a more mentally healthy society we must remember that that which unites us far greater than that which divides us.
“The Better Health at Work scheme is certainly making a difference to all at Amphigean. For an organisation where working at the desk is the norm, we’re now actively involved in more physical challenges throughout the day, with many creating a real competitive environment.”Pete Simpson, Managing Director.