Mental Health First Aid: Building a Mentally Healthy Community

Racepoint Global

Written by: Katie Packham, Agency Marketing Manager, Racepoint Global UK

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as, “A state of well being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to attend the first ever MHFA England and PRCA two day Mental Health First Aid training course.

The workplace plays a strong role in our mental health and well being─

  • 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a form of mental health per year
  • 676 million people worldwide are affected by mental health
  • 91 million working days are lost in the UK each year, costing £30 billion

MHFA England wants to convey the message that mental illness is not a sign of weakness─ in fact it can be just the opposite.

The stigma associated with mental health remains a major obstacle to the effective diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. It can prevent employees from talking to colleagues or managers about their problems because they fear discrimination. It may even prevent them from acknowledging that they have a problem.

The role of the mental health first aider is similar to a physical first aider in the workplace. During the course, we were trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to provide someone with the appropriate support.

During the two day training course, we learnt about the services available within local communities that provide support for people with mental illness. We were also provided with toolkits and ideas of how to implement the skills into our workplace and how to create an environment where mental health is discussed and desensitised.

While there is still a long way to go for employers understanding and managing individuals with mental illness, there is movement in the right direction. By PRCA and MHFA England partnering, the PR industry can start to have those important conversations within the workplace. The PR industry is a fast paced, stressful environment therefore, the more we can recognise the importance of employee’s wellbeing, the better.

For more information on Mental Health training please visit –

Let us know your thoughts and feedback in relation to the topic of mental health in the workplace and how employers and fellow co-workers can take a step in the right direction.