Mental Health First Aid at Work – a conversation with CEO Simon Blake

Welcome to the final episode in this series of The F Word at Work, where we discuss mental health at work, and its prevalence regarding the topic of fertility in the workplace. We’re delighted to be in conversation with Simon Blake, CEO of MHFA England® and a leading voice in mental health advocacy.

With a passion for driving social change, Simon champions diversity and community support. As Chair of the Dying Matters Campaign, he continues his commitment to promoting holistic wellbeing.

Here’s a glimpse into our conversation:

  • Over 300,000 mental health first aiders are now active in the UK, with one in 40 adults receiving training. We delve into the impact of this training and how it has evolved over the years.
  • Mental health takes centre stage alongside physical health concerns, emphasizing its crucial role in creating a healthy work environment.
  • We explore the importance of using inclusive language and fostering supportive behaviours when discussing both fertility issues and mental health.
  • The importance of listening and offering support, rather than trying to “fix” someone’s situation.
  • Learn about the valuable resources available for Mental Health Awareness Week and how these can support the fertility conversations in the workplace.
  • We learn about Mental Health First Aid England’s mission to provide training and consultancy on mental health awareness and support.
  • Understand what mental health first aid is and its role in the workplace, including recognizing signs and symptoms of mental health issues, providing initial support, and signposting individuals to appropriate resources.
  • The importance of creating a workplace culture where employees feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging, especially in the wake of the pandemic’s impact on mental well-being.
  • We explore the “My Whole Self” campaign, which emphasizes the need for dismantling the stigma surrounding fertility challenges and their connection to mental health.
  • The importance of well-being check-ins and the need for managers to be trained in supporting employee well-being. It also recognizes the fear of missteps in difficult conversations and emphasizes building trust with employees.
  • How mental health first aiders can empower managers and employees to address mental health and well-being concerns, including those related to fertility challenges.
  • The importance of psychological safety in the workplace is highlighted and how mental health first aid training empowers individuals to support their colleagues, fostering a positive work environment.
  • We conclude by reflecting on the rewarding aspects of MHFA England’s work. This includes the widespread impact of training, the stories of individuals using their skills to help others, and the dedication of mental health first aiders in creating positive workplace cultures.

Thank you to Apricity who are sponsoring this series of The F Word at Work. To find out about more about  how they can support your employees with inclusive fertility care please get in touch with its expert corporate team here.  We’d love your support and feedback so please do hit follow and if possible leave a review in the app you are listening to.

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Fertility Matters
@ Work

Becky, Claire & Natalie

We are dedicated to raising awareness of fertility issues in the workplace, educating companies about the reality of IVF at work and the support that is needed.

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