Money Wellness
Operational trainer Caroline - now a newly qualified mental health first aider
category iconMoney Wellness
calendar icon17 May 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week: helping colleagues live more and stress less

Our mission at Money Wellness is to help people live more and stress less. And that means colleagues as well as customers. With this in mind, we recently sent our trainer, Caroline, on a mental health first aid course. Here she talks about her reasons for wanting to do the course and what she learnt.


Why I volunteered to do a mental health first aid course


Working in my current role as an operational trainer and in previous manager roles, I have found more colleagues have reached out due to struggling with their mental health. The Covid pandemic was a particularly challenging time for many employees with lockdown, home-schooling pressures and uncertainty. We spend much of our time at work and many of our roles are demanding and emotionally taxing. As a business, we have a huge focus on supporting vulnerable customers and to do this effectively we ourselves have to be resilient. We are all individuals who have our own stresses and strains. However, sometimes, things can become overwhelming and our mental health suffers. I wanted to attend the mental health first aid course so I could support colleagues when they are finding things difficult. I wanted to ensure I had the tools to support people as much as possible.


Why is it important to have mental health support?


On the course they provided us with some key statistics about mental health. These included:


  • One in six working-age adults have symptoms associated with poor mental health
  • One in four people experience poor mental health each year


That’s a lot of people and a lot of colleagues!


With so many people affected by poor mental health, it’s important there is support in the work environment. If you fell or became physically ill, it’s a legal requirement for your employer to ensure there are first aiders or facilities to provide immediate treatment. So, why not for mental health? The campaign ‘Where’s your head at?’ is trying to pass a bill to make it a legal requirement for all workplaces to have a mental health first aider.


Having a mental health first aider helps:


  • raise awareness of mental illness
  • encourage early intervention to aid recovery
  • increase confidence in dealing with mental illness
  • reduce stigma around mental health issues
  • promote a happier and healthier work environment


What is a mental health first aider?


A mental health first aider can provide basic support for a person with a mental health crisis until they receive more specialist help from a dedicated service.


Mental health first aiders have:


  • practical skills to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • confidence to step in, reassure and support during a crisis
  • knowledge to help somebody recover their health and find additional support


How was the course and what did I learn?


The course was insightful, and I think it was invaluable to hear from individuals who had their own experience of facing a mental health crisis and feeling suicidal. There were also some great tools provided. I learnt about a variety of different mental health conditions and signs to look out for.

I also learnt, as a mental health first aider, we are not trained to be psychotherapists or counsellors. We are there to support someone in the lead-up to an intervention. I realised that being non-judgemental, empathetic and 100% engaged in what a person is saying can make a world of difference and help get them on the right track to feeling better.



Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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