Mental Health First Aid
Over the course of the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing has been at the forefront of our discussions as many have struggled to adapt to the new ways of living and working over the past 18 months.
Prior to the pandemic, waiting lists were excessively long in many instances, and support for people experiencing mental health issues had been out of reach for many when it was needed the most.
In 2020, the Office of National Statistics reported that across the United Kingdom 15.9 million days of staff sickness were due to mental health issues.
I believe the time of action is now, which is why I will be calling on the Welsh Government to introduce legislation to incorporate mental health first aid into workplace first aid training. I want to see every workplace, religious setting, school and group have a dedicated Mental Health First Aider so everyone will feel at ease to talk about their Mental Health.
Whilst our understanding and treatments for mental health issues have come a long way, we still need to work to tackle the stigma that exists around mental health, and work to improve the workplace environment to ensure that employees know that support is available, where to find it, and how to access it.
We must work to show that our workplaces feel like safe environments for all employees and whilst there is already guidance around workplace first aid regarding mental health, there is a distinct absence of a legal requirement to achieve a parity between physical illness and mental illness within the workplace. By encouraging and laying the foundations for more employers to get involved, we can make our workplaces better.
The main aims of my mental health first aid training campaign will be to ensure that employers are prepared to adequately provide training of mental health first aid, identify potential difficulties for employees and support employers to actively promote good practice to improve the mental wellbeing of their workforce.
Over the coming months I intend to hold more meetings with small and large business to find out how mental health first aid can be incorporated within their current first aid training, and to raise the matter directly with the Minister for Health in the Senedd to pass new legislation to expand first aid requirements permanently to benefit everyone.
Sign up to be a supporter
If you would like to sign up to give your support to Laura's Mental Health First Aid campaign, please fill in the form below.We'll keep you up to date with how the campaign is going and let you know how you can help at various points along the way.