Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is calling on hundreds of thousands of people it has trained in mental health skills and awareness to join the national effort to tackle the invisible impact of the coronavirus.
With the virus heightening stress, anxiety and social isolation, Mental Health First Aiders and Champions are being asked to use their skills to support those struggling with their mental health by signposting them to the appropriate support, both in and outside of the workplace.
The call comes ahead of the launch of My Whole Self on 18 March, a national campaign encouraging people to feel empowered to be their authentic self, wherever they work.
Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England said:
“Whether online or offline, bringing your whole self to work is a mindset that is better for wellbeing and better for business. When be bring authenticity, kindness and our whole self to our jobs, it enables us to work better together, boosting performance, creativity and innovation.
“In the current climate, and as more organisations move to online working, human connections are more important than ever. Nurturing them virtually will be key to supporting the nation’s mental health and wellbeing as we come together to tackle the impact of coronavirus.”
As the current health crisis sees more people working from home than ever before, MHFA England, a social enterprise which offers expertise in workplace mental health, will focus its campaign activities on providing guidance designed to support employees feeling the impact of the coronavirus.
The campaign launches today with guidance on ‘keeping mentally healthy whilst working from home’ and will encourage employees to stay connected wherever they are working. This guidance, alongside other helpful content, will enable the country’s large network of Mental Health First Aiders to provide vital support, through signposting, to colleagues and those in the wider community who may be struggling with their mental health during these testing times.
Duncan Stephenson, Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), said:
“This is an unprecedented period of anxiety for many people in the UK and the population’s mental health is paramount at this time. We fully applaud the work of Mental Health First Aid England’s network to help people through it and signpost to mental health supports.”
“We know Mental health First Aiders provide excellent support in the workplace. It will be fantastic to see this work translated to community settings and remote working as we manage the mental health challenges associated with this outbreak.”
Designated My Whole Self Day, today will see workplaces across the country encourage people to build deeper connections with colleagues at a time when millions of people move towards remote working. So far the campaign has been backed by leaders from organisations including Twitter UK, LinkedIn, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Chartered Management Institute, EY, Salesforce and Bupa. To mark the day people are being asked to create a ‘My Whole Selfie’ and share their authentic self online using the hashtag #MyWholeSelf.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“Everyone at some point in their lives will be affected by poor mental health, whether that’s through personal experience or supporting someone else.
“As a country we are talking more openly about mental health. But there’s much more employers can do to create inclusive cultures where people feel able to be themselves.
“Culture change starts at the top. Encouraging people to talk can help remove the stigma around mental health and people are more likely to seek the support they need, when they need it. It is particularly vital at the moment that people feel able to reach out for help.
“With many more people working remotely or in changed circumstances due to Coronavirus, and as we join MHFA England in marking My Whole Self Day online, it’s important that we continue to build and strengthen connections with colleagues at this challenging time.”
Find out more about the campaign, access guidance and how to get involved at mhfaengland.org/my-whole-self.