HSE Issues New Guidance on Mental Health

HSE Issues New Guidance on Mental Health

  • Date: Wednesday 28th November 2018
  • PDF: Download

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its guidance around the first aid needs assessment in the workplace to include advice on ‘mental health first aid trainers’, following the ongoing Mental Health ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ campaign.

What is ‘Where’s Your Head at?’

‘Where’s Your Head at?’ is a mental health campaign, which began in May 2018, led by Natasha Devon MBE, Bauer Media and MHFA England. The campaign has attempted to make mental and physical first aid equal through legislative changes. In doing so, they have managed to gain over 200,000 signatories on a petition to change such legislation. As well as this, Mental Health First Aid England has been working with the HSE to clarify the guidance around mental health first aid needs assessment.

What is the new update?

The new guidance states ‘you should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.’ Available training enables delegates to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and help them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone. The HSE also states that whilst findings of such an assessment do not have to be recorded, it may be useful to do so to demonstrate the decision on first-aid provision.

What should organisations do now?

HSE’s current guidance already states that employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it. Next steps for organisations could include: training employees on various relevant mental health issues or having Mental Health First Aid trainers in the workplace. There are a range of Mental Health First Aid courses that are available to organisations, including Adult Mental Health First Aid, Workplace Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health First Aid Aware. Employees should also be encouraged to talk to appropriate people within the organisation if they are struggling or have any issues. Providing mental health resources to employees is also a good method of promoting and maintaining positive wellbeing in the workplace.

What’s next?

Whilst the HSE has updated their guidance, the Government is yet to amend its first aid legislation to include both mental and physical health. MHFA England continues to provide training to organisations all over the country with proven positive results in the workplace.

For further information on the updated HSE guidance, visit the HSE website, or if you would like to book onto a Mental Health First Aid course, please contact a member of the Customer Service Team on 01752 201616.

Source: Chloe Phillips, SSG

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