S61: The emerging role of Mental Health First Aid Officers in the workplace.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Nataly Bovopoulos

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention,Reducing Stigma and Discrimination,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Few employees appear to seek help for their mental health problems, and the longer the person delays treatment seeking the more likely they are to take a long sick leave absence, resulting in tangible negative impacts on the worker and workplace as a whole. However given most mental health problems develop slowly and we spend so much of our time at work, co-workers are in a good position to detect the early signs and symptoms and offer initial help. Though it would be ideal if every employee had appropriate knowledge and skills to offer help, training key staff can be cost-effective strategy for organisations. This presentation will provide an overview of the emerging role of ‘mental health first aid officers’ in workplaces, who are dedicated individuals like physical first aid offers trained to support co-workers experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. The presentation will provide an overview of three doctoral research studies investigating the role of mental health first aid in the workplace - 1) a cross-sectional survey with Instructors; 2) a Delphi consensus study to develop guidelines for English speaking developed countries on how to offer mental health first aid to a co-worker; and 3) a qualitative study with six experienced organisations that have a mental health first aid officer strategy in place for more than 6 months. The presentation will provide insights from this research and offer tips, resources and key recommendations from an 'implementation guide to introducing mental health first aid in the workplace' which is due to be published in late 2017.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain an understanding into the role and function of mental health first aid officers in a comprehensive workplace mental health promotion strategy.

Learning Objective 2: This topic is of relevance to anyone who is an employee in a workplace and is concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of employees; as well as workers in the sector who are engaged in workplace health promotion projects.

Bovopoulos N, Jorm AF, Bond KS, LaMontagne AD, Reavley NJ, Kelly CM, Kitchener BA, Martin A. Providing mental health first aid in the workplace: a Delphi consensus study. BMC Psychology. 2016 Aug 2;4(1):1
Bovopoulos N, LaMontagne A, Martin A, Jorm AF Delivering mental health first aid training in Australian workplaces: exploring instructors’ experiences, International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 2016 doi: 10.1080/14623730.2015.1122658

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