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Information for Managers

If an employee has expressed an interest in becoming a Mental Health First Aider, please read through the following information carefully before approving the application. Although a voluntary role, it is important that you, as a manager, are aware of the responsibilities and commitment involved. 

The role of the Mental Health First Aider is to spot the warning signs of mental ill health, provide initial support to an individual and to appropriately guide the individual to further help. The Mental Health First Aider will be the first point of contact for an individual who is experiencing a mental health crisis or emotional distress.  

It is important to note that Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be psychiatrists or therapists but can offer initial support through non-judgmental listening and guidance. 

To become a qualified Mental Health First Aider, the employee will be required to successfully complete a certified Adult Mental Health First Aid training course. Training will be delivered through the Authority’s chosen provider - Ajuda. Training will be delivered online and will be a combination of 5 self-directed online modules and two 3-hour live webinars with a qualified trainer. 

The Mental Health First Aider may be required to support a colleague who is experiencing a mental health crisis or serious emotional distress. The Mental Health First Aider must therefore be well-equipped to appropriately deal with such a situation. As a manager, it is important that you use your discretion to assess the suitability of the employee to take on this role. 

As detailed above, the Mental Health First Aider will be dealing with highly emotive, sensitive and personal topics. To effectively support a colleague in a crisis, emotional intelligence and resilience are essential. It is important that those volunteering to become a Mental Health First Aider feel confident in their ability to meet the responsibilities of the role.

As a manager, you should make an honest assessment of the employee’s suitability for the role before approving their application. This is important for both the employee’s own wellbeing and that of others. 

Given the nature of the role of a Mental Health First Aider, there is no fixed time commitment. It might be that the Mental Health First Aider does not provide support to a colleague for a few months, or it might be that the Mental Health First Aider is supporting a colleague every couple of weeks.

As a manager, you should acknowledge that the Mental Health First Aider may, on occasion, be required to step away from their day-to-day duties to fulfil their role as a Mental Health First Aider. Please also note that, as part of the network of Mental Health First Aiders, the employee will attend a group support session at least bi-monthly. 

It is important that the Mental Health First Aider themselves is provided access to support as and when required. As a manager, you should be understanding of the fact that your employee may be dealing with difficult or distressing situations. It is hoped that the support network for Mental Health First Aiders will allow the individual to debrief and offload, however additional support such as an Occupational Health referral or our Wellbeing Support Service may be necessary in some cases. 

Having read the information provided here along with the full role description, it is advised that you have a conversation with the employee about the role. If in agreement, the employee will proceed to attending Mental Health First Aid training. If you are unsure about the employee’s suitability for the role, it is recommended that the employee attends a briefing session with the Programme Coordinator, where they will have the opportunity to find out more about the role. 

Page updated: 03/06/2021 16:44:50