World Mental Health Day – new course open for applicants

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on 10 October. This year’s focus is on mental health in the workplace, a very important topic with mental ill-health being the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. To address this we are trialling a new Mental Health First Aid course in Sheffield which is now open for applicants, more information below.

In June 2017, 35% of referrals to NHSBT’s occupational health were for mental and behavioural issues. Whilst between July 2016 and June 2017, 31% of calls to the Employee Assistance Programme helpline were for mental health reasons.

Everyone has mental health, just as everyone has physical health. One in 4 people will have mental ill-health (Mind, 2011) during their lifetime, despite this, less than half of those affected feel confident to share their condition with anyone. Earlier this year three colleagues addressed the stigma and shared very personal blogs of their experience of living with and tackling a mental health condition. To read these search ‘Mental Health’ on Inside NHSBT.

As part of our Health and Wellbeing activity we will be trialling a new Mental Health First Aid course in Sheffield.  Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course. It is designed to teach individuals how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide colleagues help, on a first-aid basis. The course will also teach you how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and feel confident to guide colleagues to receive the appropriate support.

The Health and Wellbeing team are keen to hear from any colleagues interested in joining the scheme. The recruitment profile and application form are now available via People First.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday 25 October and all should be submitted to  Please note we are initially only recruiting for Mental Health First Aiders in Sheffield where the pilot will take place.  If you have any questions or would like more information please contact:

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, please visit

This World Mental Health Day, take a step towards making our workplace a better place for everybody to work.

Other ways you can help:

 Look out for our colleagues and notice changes in behaviour that is normal to them. Sometimes it is more obvious to someone else when something is not right than to the person themselves.

 Find out where to get help. Knowing what sources of support are available inside and outside NHSBT will be useful both for yourself, should you ever need it, or for signposting your colleagues to. Ensure you are aware of what workplace adjustments are and how to get support for yourself or your team. See People First for more information.

 Read up about the most common types of mental-ill health, such as anxiety, stress, depression, OCD, phobias and panic attacks. Knowledge will help increase your understanding making it easier to recognise if a colleague starts to show signs that they are not well. Information on these can be found on the Mind or NHS Choices websites.

 If you are a line manager, make sure you regularly ask your team how they are. And mean it. Showing a genuine interest and really listening to what they say will enable you to develop a more trusting relationship, where your team will hopefully begin feel more able to speak to you about what is going on in their lives.

 If you are a line manager, ensure you understand the procedures regarding the effective management of sickness absence, such as maintaining appropriate contact, return to work interviews and plans, and frequent contact on return to work to check all is well.

 Be mindful of the language you use in the workplace. Don’t make jokes about someone being ‘mental’ or ‘loony’ or belittle someone’s mental health condition as something minor that they should ‘just get over’.

 Take a look at the Guides from the Business Disability Forum (BDF) on People First for advice on mental health in the workplace, making adjustments and how to have a potentially difficult conversation.

 The Mental Health Foundation suggest running a Tea and Talk event


Why not share your top tips in the comments sections below and help to break the stigma. It is important to remember that good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health condition.

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