Free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England training for your workplace as part of a new three-year study

Poor mental wellbeing in the workplace has a significant impact both on individual businesses and on the economy as a whole. It is estimated the business cost of mental ill health at work is almost £35 billion a year nationwide – the equivalent of £1,300 for every person employed in every UK business.

There is increasing understanding that employers can reduce some of these costs by taking positive action to improve mental health at work and create supportive, healthier, more productive businesses.

Through our Inclusive Business campaign, the IoD strives to highlight the issues surrounding mental health in the workplace and is pleased to be able to offer IoD members an opportunity to benefit from the following training opportunity.

The Study

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has commissioned the Centre for Mental Health (CMH) and London South Bank University (LSBU) to conduct a pioneering three-year research project to study the impact of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) interventions in the workplace.

CMH and LBSU are now seeking employers of different types and sizes with limited or no prior experience of MHFA England training to participate in this study.

Any employer that meets the criteria for taking part in the study will receive free MHFA England training. For every 50 employees within the organisation,* one member staff will be eligible to take part in an MHFA England Two Day course qualifying them as a Mental Health First Aider.

*All organisations of 50 people or less will be eligible for only one member of staff to receive training

The background

Licensed MHFA training has an international reputation as a successful mental health literacy and skills programme for use in workplaces, schools, colleges and universities. It has an extensive evidence-base for a public mental health programme, with over 70 evaluations and nearly two decades of research behind it.

Evidence suggests MHFA benefits organisations and employees. However, there has been no systematic investigation of the impact of MHFA on recipients of the intervention, the organisations that provide MHFA, and the cost effectiveness of MHFA. The wider societal impact of MHFA is also not evident from the empirical literature.

How the study will work

Initially every employer taking part will be randomly allocated to join one of two groups:

  1. Those that receive MHFA England training straight away on joining the study
  2. Those that do not receive MHFA England training for about 12 months after joining the study

After joining the study and for a period of around 12 months both groups will be compared with each other to assess any differences between the first group and the second.

Those companies randomly allocated to be in the second group will be able to take up the training after around 12 months. For those companies, MHFA can provide a consultation on mental wellbeing in the workplace whilst waiting for the training.

Each employer taking part in the study will be asked to give the research team access to their workplace to collect data, for example:

  • Sickness rates
  • Details on recruitment & retention
  • Data on productivity (e.g. before and for a period after the training) so that we can measure any economic benefits.
  • To interview and periodically test the knowledge of those receiving MHFA England training
  • To interview and survey people from the wider workforce who may have benefited from MHFA intervention. These interviews will take 30-60 minutes to complete.

The research team will of course treat all data in the strictest confidence and all reporting on the results of the study will be anonymised.

If you are interested in finding out more about MHFA England training, the criteria for this study and taking part, Dr Graham Durcan via [email protected].

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