5 Perks Of Incorporating Mental Health First Aid Kit At Work
You have probably heard of first aid kits, but they are usually for physical injuries. When you injure your knee or head at work, someone can give you a hand. It's because most people know what to do in such a situation.
But did you know that a mental health first aid kit is equally important? Did you find yourself shocked, surprised, or both? It's true, and a mental health first aid kit is real.
There has been a growing awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace in recent years. And a mental health first aid kit is just as essential at work as a first aid kit for physical injuries.
Workplace stress can be one of the major causes of sick days in the modern workplace. Almost every year, the UK business loses almost an estimated 2.4 billion dollars in absenteeism and reduced productivity due to workplace stress-related issues.
There is a huge impact of mental health on your productivity. This, if not appropriately addressed, will further lead to an increase in turnover and a dip in employee retention.
As an employer, you can provide mental health aid training to provide invaluable support to your employees struggling with mental illnesses.
This article will help you better understand what a mental health first aid kit is and how it can benefit you and your organization.
What Is A Mental Health First Aid Kit?
A Mental health first aid at work is a training program that teaches your employees how to notice and support a colleague or worker experiencing a crisis or mental health issues. It further encourages them to reach out to them and connect with appropriate employee and community resources.
Now, let's move to what exactly a mental health first aid kit is and what it should have in it. Just like you have a first aid kit for your physical injuries, nowadays, you also have one for your mental health.
A mental health first aid kit contains practices, behaviors, intentions, and strategies that help support mental and emotional sobriety. The items in it should be personal and easily available to help you deal with stress, anxiety, or any other emotions you might feel.
Researchers have found that consistent use of mindfulness decreases stress, emotional arousal, and depression symptoms and bolsters emotional well-being, self-compassion, and even engagement..
Components Of A Mental Health First Aid Kit
A mental health first aid kit box is not like a traditional first aid kit toolbox. Still, it is a collection of tools and resources that will help you support your mental health issues or even assist those struggling with any mental health condition.
“ Recovery is a process, not a destination. - Anonymous “
The mental health first aid kit is like a box of games with tools and items that will help you alleviate difficult feelings like loneliness, stress, or even anxiety attacks when required. Mental health components should include things that will soothe, alleviate, and ground you.
Mental health is very individual, so the specific contents of a mental health kit box may vary from person to person, but these are some common components.
1. Self-Care Items
Self-care items in your mental health kit box should generally include things or items that will help to alleviate all of your senses, i.e. -
The items in the kit box can help promote relaxation and a sense of ultimate self-care through stimulation and soothing you might need during distress. It can include stress balls, essential oils, calming music, painting, or even watching a go-to comfort show or movie.
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2. Mindfulness And Meditation Tools
The next components of a mental health kit box are behavioral rituals or practices like mindfulness or meditation that you can turn to at any time. Unlike traditional tools, whenever you're stressed or anxious, you easily turn to these techniques to help you relax and take charge of your feelings.
3. Informational Resources
The next component of a mental health kit box is to include informational resources like brochures, pamphlets or contact numbers or books, or helpline numbers that provide information on mental health conditions and signs and symptoms.
They also assist with handling certain situations and what not to do. These resources further help to educate and support yourself and others in the organization about mental health and break the stigma attached to it.
Suggested Read: A Holistic Approach To Mental Health
4. Emergency Plan And Coping Strategies
Even if you have practiced the tools mentioned above when dealing with stress or anxiety, there might be times when you might need to seek help beyond them. Having a go-to emergency plan and coping strategy in your kit can be useful when handling a crisis.
Try to develop a crisis or emergency plan that outlines each step when a mental health crisis occurs. It can include important contact pieces of information, crisis hotline numbers, therapists or support groups, or even information about local institutions for suicide prevention and counseling centers. It will further help you get assistance on services during a crisis and ensure safety.
Suggested Read: How To Reduce Stress Hormones
5 Perks Of Having A Mental Health First Aid Kit At Work
There is a quote that goes,"Prevention is better than cure," and that goes for both your physical and mental health. The benefits of having a mental health first aid kit in the workplace are numerous. Especially post-pandemic, where the entire work culture has changed, mental health and work are undeniably the hottest topics.
Having a mental health first aid kit at work is important in the workplace because it helps provide relevant knowledge and support to those struggling with their mental health. It also further helps to create a more healthy workplace culture.
Here are five perks of incorporating a mental health first aid kit in the workplace -
1. Early Intervention
A mental health first aid kit provides tools and resources for early intervention and support. It also helps to identify the mental health concerns of your employees and other workers in the organization at an early stage. It also allows them to help identify the signs and symptoms and get the necessary assistance.
Since a mental health first aid kit includes-
Various coping strategies,
Information on stress management techniques, and
Resources like medical help numbers and websites,
All of these might prevent minor crises from escalating into more severe ones.
2. Promotes More Mental Health Awareness
Incorporating a mental health first aid kit as part of your wellness program also helps create awareness about the importance of employee wellness and a healthier work environment. Again, having a mental health kit accessible and visible in the workplace encourages open conversation about mental well-being. It also helps to reduce the stigma attached to it and create a more supportive work culture.
Suggested Read: Top 10 Benefits Of An Employee Wellness Program
3. Improves Employee Well-being
Having a mental health first aid kit in the workplace demonstrates that your organization values the mental well-being of your employees and encourages a healthy work culture.
Again, it provides employees with easy access to resources and tools to manage their stress, anxiety, or any other mental health issues that they might be struggling with. It also helps to increase employee resilience, improve productivity, and enhance overall mental wellness.
4. Reduces Absenteeism And Presenteeism
It might impact your organization significantly if your employees struggle or find it hard to deal with their mental health issues. Mental health issues can dramatically impact your employees' ability to function effectively.
By addressing mental health concerns promptly and providing appropriate support and resources, a mental health first aid kit can help reduce both absenteeism ( off days taken due to mental health issues) and presenteeism (not being able to work while at work).
5. Provides Support For Mental Health Emergencies
Just like a physical first aid kit helps to prevent physical injuries during an emergency, a mental health first aid kit assists in managing mental health crises or emergencies.
The components of a mental health first aid kit include instruction or guidance on how to respond to and manage situations like panic attacks or anxiety attacks, acute stress reactions, or even the prevention of suicidal thoughts.
Thus, it enables employees to provide initial help while professional help is sought.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do You Make A Mental Health Kit?
Making a mental health first aid kit is not a challenging task. The first step is to take your time and ask for help from trusted sources. Try to keep it simple and updated with your own personal needs. Make sure the items or tools are personal and not generalized.
2. Why Do You Need Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid courses raise awareness about mental illnesses, encourage early intervention to aid recovery and increase confidence in handling mental illnesses, according to independent research and evaluation.
3. What Are The Four Main Aims Of Mental Health First Aid?
The four main aims of mental health first aid are a sense of safety, no judgment listening, creating connections, and reassurance and information.
Summing It Up
Thus, it is essential to step up and include a mental health first aid kit in your wellness program. Having it a part of a broader mental health strategy that includes policies, mental health training programs, and access to mental health professionals in your organization can benefit you and your employees.
Positively managing mental health is essential for good employee engagement and benefits everyone. As a result of looking after your employees' mental well-being, you will increase their engagement and loyalty, as well as their innovation, productivity, and profits.
I hope this article helped you better understand what mental health first aid kit is and how it can benefit you.
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