Mental Health in the Workplace – and what support is available

AM Services Group currently has a small team of qualified mental Health First Aiders

who can be contacted in complete confidence on: Mhfa@amservicesgroup.co.uk

We consider mental health and employee wellbeing in the workplace a priority and our MHFAs are the go-to contacts for anyone who is going through some form of crisis and mental health issue.

For anyone experiencing mental health issues at work, you are encouraged to make contact as soon as possible with one of our dedicated Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA). They will get back to you ideally within 48 hours of your contact, to assist you by talking to you in strictest confidence and informing you of the various agencies and professional help channels that are available to you.

Our trained MHFAs use 5 basic steps :

  • Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
  • Listen and communicate non-judgmentally
  • Give support and information
  • Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
  • Encourage other support

Our MHFAs are present to help guide anyone in distress to the relevant help that they need. They also have the relevant knowledge to be able to spot someone who is developing a mental health issue. They will, therefore, be able to intervene before the issue escalates.

MHFAs are there to support our staff and to help to make their life at work easier by listening, assessing the situation in a non-judgmental way, giving relevant information and signposting to the professional support that is available, and escalating where necessary. Confidentiality is key and each discussion must be protected.

Our MHFAs are trained to:

  • Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health
  • Start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress
  • Listen to the person non-judgementally
  • Assess the risk of suicide or self-harm
  • Encourage the person to access appropriate professional support or self-help strategies.
  • This might include encouraging access to internal support systems such as EAPs or in-house counselling services if available
  • Escalate to the appropriate emergency services, if necessary
  • Maintain confidentiality as appropriate
  • Complete critical incident documents as and when necessary
  • Protect themselves while performing their role
  • At no time does the Mental Health First Aider role (or anyone trained in MHFA skills) supersede company policy: first and foremost they are all employees of the company.

Meet our new Mental Health First Aiders

Our monthly newsletter, where we recognise the outstanding contribution of our colleagues and teams, is a constant reminder that our employees are working on the front line, continuing to support our clients as they meet the challenges of working through the pandemic, and demonstrating our company values even though we are all facing our own personal challenges.

AM Services Group understands that mental health issues can affect each and every one of us in different ways. For anyone experiencing mental health issues, we have a team of dedicated, trained Mental Health First Aiders who are there to assist you by talking to you in strictest confidence and informing you of the various agencies and professional help channels that are available to you.

We would like to introduce you to our new Mental Health First Aiders and to encourage anyone who is going through a crisis or mental health issue to get in touch:

Meet the MHFA Team – Megan Linacre

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What do you do in the business and how long have you worked with AMSG?

I am a Business Support Administrator and have worked here for just over a year and a half.

Why did you want to become a MHFA?

I’ve always been aware of mental health and have known people throughout my life that have struggled with it. I had never experienced issues with my own mental health until winter 2018. It truly was the most lonely and numb feeling that I struggled to describe to my friends and family which not only made them worry more but also made it difficult for them to understand.

I wanted to become a MHFA so that if anyone was struggling, I would have the tools, training and knowledge to actively listen to their individual situations and to help them feel, not only listened to, but understood and acknowledged.

Mental health has become less of a taboo subject within our society and as a society we need to open the space for it to be discussed openly and freely without judgement. 

How did you find your training and what is the most important thing you got out of it?

The most important thing I took from the learning is ALGEE Action Plan = Approach, Listen, Give support, Encourage appropriate professional help, Encourage other supports.

What do you hope to contribute to AMSG going forward as a MHFA, and why do you think this is important?

I hope that I’ll be able to contribute positively towards AMSG as a Mental Health First Aider, and will be able to use my training to support any member of staff, friend or stranger that may be struggling in any sort of way with their mental health.

I believe it is important for anyone struggling to be able to talk about their problems and be listened to without judgement, and without someone trying to quickly fix their understanding of the problem without really trying to understand and support the person in need.

Vanessa Kane 

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What do you do in the business and how long have you worked with AMSG?

I have worked for AMSG for 18 years processing payroll, accounts and many other administrative duties over the years.

Why did you want to become a MHFA?

It’s always been an area I’ve been interest in, and I believe mental health should be given the same level of attention as physical health. I want to be able to support AMSG as the company grows and we see more mental health related issues amongst staff.

How did you find your training and what is the most important thing you got out of it?

The most important thing I got out of it was the basic action plan that you must always revert to: ALGEE, approach, listen, give support, encourage, encourage.

What do you hope to contribute to AMSG going forward as a MHFA, and why do you think this is important?

A person who has the ability to listen and give support and guidance in a sensitive mature manner. I think it’s important that colleagues realise this so they can put their trust in you and be able to talk openly. 

Zoe Atkinson

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What do you do in the business and how long have you worked with AMSG?

I am a Contracts Manager and will have been with AM Services Group for 3 years this April.

Why did you want to become a MHFA? How did you find your training and what is the most important thing you got out of it? 

I really enjoyed the training… it was a great group on the course and everyone was really open and honest. The most important thing I wanted to get out of the course was to be able to recognise someone who may be suffering with mental health. 

What has been your experience of being a MHFA, so far?

Anxiety and depression are common, although everyone has their own story. It’s not always Covid-19 related but I imagine there are a lot of people struggling at the moment due to the current circumstances and I think it’s really important to know that so many people are feeling the same with lockdown and all the restrictions that come with it. 

What do you hope to contribute to AMSG going forward as a MHFA, and why do you think this is important? 

I think it’s really important to have MHFA in the workplace. For some people it can be easier speaking with someone you don’t personally know rather than a family member or a friend and a MHFA is someone who will listen non-judgementally.

My hope is to encourage someone who is struggling to seek professional advice and keep talking.

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