SLT Invests in Mental Health First Aid

SLT Invests in Mental Health First Aid

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) has ensured all its senior managers are qualified ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ following a bespoke two-day training course at its Hadley Stadium facility in Smethwick.

It was delivered by specialist provider Inter Wellbeing Ltd, who are professionally certified to deliver Mental Health First Aid England training – and some 20 SLT staff are now able to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. SLT Business & Commercial Manager, Mark Wildman, says: “Mental health awareness and training is an increasingly important area for employers (as well as being an absolute top priority for Public Health England and the World Health Organisation) so we think taking a proactive and positive approach is vital – plus it further demonstrates the Trust’s ongoing commitment to advance the training, development and welfare of staff under its Investor in People Standard.’

“Mental Health First Aid is just as important as Physical First Aid and should be considered by all organisations really, because it can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. This fascinating course has both empowered and educated our managers to be able to support staff who may need help, as it not only improves understanding, but assists with recognising those who maybe suffering and have a mental illness, as well as early intervention tactics.”

The course also helps employees develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone (while keeping oneself safe) and guide a person towards the right support for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP or place of work, online self-referral, support groups and more. Rachel Evans-Robinson, Director of Inter Wellbeing Ltd, adds: “Sandwell Leisure Trust is to be commended for leading the way in mental health awareness. We are proud of our partnership with SLT and have really enjoyed training such a pro-active, forward thinking organisation, which actively supports positive wellbeing and is also tackling the issue of stigma in the workplace.

“By committing to train all senior managers in the organisation, SLT ensure staff wellbeing is at the forefront of its business. Mental Health First Aid teaches people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis, and potentially stopping that crisis from happening. Just having one person trained can make a big difference – and SLT now has 20. Mental Health can be a sensitive subject for some people to talk about and we aim to make this a lot easier to do, especially in a work environment.“

Mental ill health can have a huge impact on both human and financial potential. The Centre for Mental Health estimates that mental illness costs UK employers an estimated £34.9 billion each year, which is the equivalent of £1,300 for every employee in the UK workforce. Broken down, that’s £10.6 billion in sickness absence, £21.2 billion in reduced productivity, and £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs for mental health-related reasons