HSE updates employee mental health guidelines

The HSE is advising that staff should be trained to know how to react to physical and mental situations in the workplace.

The UK government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its guidelines on mental health and how employers should manage these issues, following a £2bn increase for mental health services in this year’s budget.

These new guidelines feature advice on mental health first aid for the first time. Sometimes forgotten due to the popularity of physical first aid, mental first aid is essential for those who suffer with psychological disorders.

Somebody in an office may be experiencing a panic attack, or an episode of psychosis, and the HSE has now recognised that staff should be educated and ready to react to physical and mental situations in the workplace.

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The HSE advised employers: “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.

“First aid training courses covering mental health teach delegates how to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and help them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone, while keeping themselves safe.

“Following your employers’ first aid needs assessment; you might decide that it will be beneficial to have personnel trained to identify and understand symptoms and able to support someone who might be experiencing a mental health issue.”

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