Today, on ‘Time to Talk Day’, The MoD are promoting a network of Defence Mental Health First Aiders to act as first point of contact.
Time to Talk Day aims to promote the value of talking about mental health, recognising the value that the simple act of talking has towards the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing. That might involve friends and family, but it could equally as well involve colleagues in the workplace.
Mental Health First Aiders are volunteers who have been trained to spot early signs of mental health issues, to provide an empathetic ear at a time of need, and to help signpost colleagues to other support services that are available.
While they are not professional councillors, they understand the importance of listening to people to help them work through their own issues. Whether military or civilian, Mental Health First Aiders are available to chat to colleagues about their mental health. Any details shared in the conversation are on a confidential basis.
Damian Paterson, the MOD Mental Health Champion, says:
“As the Cabinet Secretary and various senior Defence officials have emphasised recently, ensuring the good mental health and wellbeing of our public servants is a top priority for the UK Government. It is important for everyone to recognise the working culture, good management practice, and the quality of engagement and caring among colleagues can play a significant part in that. Our military and civilian Mental Health First Aiders can make a valuable contribution to that, so I would encourage establishments to publicise their existence wherever possible.”