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The Importance of Mental Health First Aid Training for GP Surgeries

23 April 2021

GPs know better than most the importance of good mental wellbeing and the value of mental health first aid training. How does this apply to staff too?

GPs know better than most the importance of good mental wellbeing and the value of mental health first aid training. It’s an unfortunate fact that the Covid pandemic has negatively impacted many patients’ mental health, but it’s important to consider staff too. It’s easy to become focused on helping patients and lose sight that your own colleagues might have their own mental ill health issues, and that’s why Loch Training & Wellbeing recommends that all GP surgeries have at least one trained Mental Health First Aider in their team. 

The benefits of having a trained Mental Health First Aider are numerous; not only does it help you to meet your legal obligations under Health and Safety Legislation, but it also demonstrates to your colleagues that you care about their wellbeing, helping to embed a culture of support and inclusivity. In addition to this, the practice benefits from minimised absenteeism, reduced staff turnover and less of a negative impact on productivity from presenteeism. The Mental Health First Aiders can spot any signs early on and help their colleagues to avoid mental ill health becoming an issue. To find out more about Mental Health First Aid training and how to book onto our next training session, please see below or click here.

The Employer’s obligations towards mental wellbeing

Under Health and Safety Legislation, employers have a duty to care for their staff. The Health and Safety Executive has made it clear the obligation is to look after physical and mental health. Under the Equality Act 2010, a mental ill health condition is considered to be a disability if it has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on an individual’s normal day-to-day activities. The Act places certain obligations on an employer to consider and make reasonable adjustments to ensure the person is not discriminated against in the workplace. 

Embedding a culture in the workplace where mental ill health conditions can be discussed (in the same way as physical illnesses) will help to minimise the risks of discrimination claims and absences. 

The ‘Thriving at Work’ review cites research, conducted by Deloitte, demonstrates the returns to employers who invest in mental health in the workplace. The average return for every pound spent was £4.20, with figures between 40p to £9. This demonstrates an overwhelmingly positive outcome for employers who invest in supporting the mental health of their workforce. This return can be seen in the costs associated with absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover. 

The Role of the Mental Health First Aider

A trained Mental Health First Aider is taught how to identify if a colleague is suffering from mental ill health and signpost them early on to appropriate support or solutions. In order to fully benefit from investing in Mental Health First Aid training, employers need to think carefully about who is the best person to carry out the role of the Mental Health First Aider in their organisation. An HR professional may not be best placed to do that, due to the conflict that can arise, but there will be others who would be ideal for carrying out this role. Loch Training & Wellbeing can also support them after they’ve been trained.

This will help employers embed a culture of best practice around mental health support and show colleagues that the organisation takes their mental health seriously and encourages them to talk. 

Book a place on our next training course

Loch Training & Wellbeing is part of the Loch Associates Group, which includes Loch Employment 

Law and Loch HR, and so we know first-hand how our clients can benefit from taking part in the training. The next Mental Health First Aid course is a virtual one, which is taking place over 4 half-day sessions, starting on 17 May 2021. It’s specifically designed to help local GP practices take steps to look after and manage the mental health of their colleagues.

Backed by MHFA England, the Mental Health First Aid course will train attendees to become a Mental Health First Aider and give them an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing. They’ll learn how to recognise the warning signs, develop the skills and confidence to reassure a person in distress and give them the knowledge on how to signpost to further support.


Cost – £300 plus VAT

Time – 17, 18, 24 & 25 May (four half day sessions)

Location – Virtual

To find out more, or to book your place on the course, please visit: 

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