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What is a Mental Health First Aider?

12 May 2021

Hi there, my name’s Julie and I’m a Regional Specification Manager and one of Aico’s four Mental Health First Aiders. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I’d explain a bit more about my role and how Aico embraces and supports mental health and wellbeing.

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Aico has a longstanding relationship with the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) and in 2019 we began supporting their Mental Health Awareness Training sessions for apprentices with our mobile units. We became an EIC Champion last year and as a result were able to receive Mental Health First Aider training. Back in September 2020, myself and three of my colleagues undertook the EIC’s training to become Mental Health First Aiders.

The training was insightful and enjoyable and at the end of the four-day course with the EIC, I became a Mental Health First Aider. Gaining insight and understanding into different types of mental illness, and what mental health and wellbeing really means, was really interesting and means I can make a difference to any of my colleagues that may be struggling or have concerns.

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Along with my fellow Mental Health First Aiders, Andy, Jane and Lily, our main goal is for our colleagues to feel safe, secure and seek the help they may need. A key part of our role as Mental Health First Aiders is to provide a supportive environment for colleagues to talk about things that are bothering them. Although we cannot diagnose an illness or prescribe medication, we can listen, support, advise and seek extra help or support if required.

We also deliver presentations to our colleagues, to help reduce stigma, normalise talking and encourage openness. Working with the EIC, we have a twelve-month Mental Health Calendar, where myself and my colleagues discuss a different topic each month. To date, we have presented on Women’s Health, Men’s Health, the Impact of Social Media and a variety of other topics where colleagues have and continue to share their own stories and experiences.

With May being home to Mental Health Awareness Week, we are taking a slightly different approach to addressing this month’s focus by getting smaller groups of colleagues together. This way, we can have a more informal chat where everyone can share their experiences, challenges and concerns to encourage the conversation.

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Aico’s approach to the mental health and wellbeing of all colleagues has been fantastic, the whole company is on board and get involved with the presentations and conversations. It’s great that mental health and wellbeing has been embraced and colleagues want to help and support one another by sharing their journeys and experiences. I’m really proud to be a part of an exceptional company and team!

For more information about the EIC and the training programmes they offer, click here.

 

by Julie

Julie enjoys cooking, walking and spending time with her family.