Over the next two days, CWU members wishing to become Mental Health First Aiders in order to support their colleagues at work who may be suffering in silence, and even help to save lives; are being trained to identify signs within colleagues that they may have mental health pressures that could become debilitating.
The CWU has recognised that mental health problems can be exacerbated or even caused by workplace environments and pressures, and is supporting the training and development of Mental Health First Aiders in the workplaces that the Union has members.
Indeed, at the Union’s Conference in 2018 the case for the need for training of CWU Reps to support those suffering from problems causing deterioration in their mental health; was highlighted in what was a very emotional debate.
This directly lead to the Union developing it’s won far-reaching mental health strategy, culminating in support for the concept of Mental Health First Aiders at work at work.
One of the Union’s leading exponents of mental health support in the North West, is Jamie Mc Govern Area Safety Rep from the CWU Greater Mersey Amal Branch; whose personal experience in dealing with members suffering from mental health issues, has exposed him to the enormity of the problem and the sometimes dire consequences as a result of depression or anxiety leading to suicidal thoughts, and sadly; the person taking their own life.
The principle behind the concept of first aiders being trained in spotting the early signs that perhaps a colleague has a mental health issue they are trying to cope with; is one of prevention and treatment.
In the same way as a ‘physical’ first aider would help a person injured as a result of taking ill or an accident at work, preventive action and early treatment can stop the person suffering from further injury or decline in their health.
In the case of the start of a mental health problem, early action can help to stop it becoming a crisis, help to alert the individual as to the extent of their problem and point them in the right direction for support and help.
It can, in severe cases, help to avoid a potential suicide.
Speaking after his first day as a tutor on the first North West CWU mental health first aider course, Jamai said he was “Proud to be tutoring the first regional MHFA England course and taking some truly inspirational Greater Merseyside Amal people through the 2 day course.”
He added: “Our people never fail to inspire me. I know our new MHFAs will also inspire others too.”
Commenting further via Twitter, Jay said:
“I'm truly in awe of these amazing CWU reps & members who are so determined to learn and upskill themselves in order to support others by becoming trained MHFAs, it's so easy to be inspired by them!”
Jamie was joined by fellow tutor Adrian Prins
The Unionsafety E-Library contains a wealth of documents regarding mental health. Use search category 'mental health' to select and download documents.