A number of years ago there was discussion around current First Aid at Work training, in that it should take into consideration mental health or alternatively be provided through specific training.
This week, 25th January 2023, a new law requiring businesses to offer mental health first aid training has been presented to parliament.
Although many businesses already offer mental health training to first aiders, this is still not a legal requirement, however that would change if the bill is passed.
If successful it will simply mean that workers have a trained person to signpost them to the help and support they need, when they need it.
Mental health first aid training, which originated in Australia and has now become recognised around the world, teaches how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and to respond appropriately.
The additional training would inevitably come at a cost to businesses, however campaigners highlight the growing number of workdays lost to poor mental health, and the duty of care that businesses have towards their employees.
Surveys conducted by The Health and Safety Executive estimates that mental illness accounted for around half of all cases of sick leave last year.