It’s Time to Talk about our Mental Health First Aiders

Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Happening every year, it’s about making space in your day for a simple chat about how you feel. 

This year’s event takes place 2 February 2023, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op. 

We all know that talking about mental health isn’t always easy, but a conversation has the power to change lives.  

As People and Culture Lead at MCS, I am responsible for helping to shape a strong workplace culture in which any of our employees can feel able to talk openly or confidentially about how they are feeling. 

So, Time to Talk Day felt fitting for me to discuss the steps we’re taking at MCS to promote positive mental health care and wellbeing among our growing team. 

We all have busy roles at MCS – and we recognise that the added pressures of the workplace can compound our daily worries.  

That’s why we believe it’s vital to remove the stigma around mental health and reaffirm that it’s okay not to be okay.  

To encourage positive conversations around mental health in the workplace and provide added support to those at MCS who need it, we have invested in training several Mental Health First Aiders within our team.  

What is a Mental Health First Aider anyway? 

The Level 3 Award in Mental Health: Workplace First Aider qualification is a two-day practical course operated by St John Ambulance. 

It is designed to train competent and confident workplace first aiders who can spot the signs and respond to the needs of a person experiencing a mental health issue. 

The course includes several parts:  

  • an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing 
  • practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental illness 
  • an understanding of how to perform some physical first aid as part of a response to mental illness 
  • the confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress 
  • knowledge on how to implement reasonable mental health adjustments when an individual returns to work 
  • the skills to create a positive mental health culture in the workplace. 

To date, we have invested in this qualification for four members of our team, including myself; Dan White, our Market Development Director; David Banner, Helpdesk Team Lead; and Aaron Eastwood, Communications Manager.  

We are all now equipped with the skills to spot the signs of ill mental health and help anyone in our team who might be struggling. And, importantly, we now feel confident enough to guide someone towards the right mental health support if needed. 

Upholding our team’s personal wellbeing is a vital part of our culture – one we are incredibly proud to promote. We look forward to putting more people through this vital qualification as our company expands even further. 

It’s time – and never too late – to talk about how you’re feeling. 

Sarah Howard, People and Culture Lead at MCS 

Our Communications Manager, Aaron Eastwood