How Mentoring in the Workplace Can Support Mental Health First Aid

Two men sit talking a work in an open plan office, one is on his laptop, they are both smiling.

How Mentoring in the Workplace Can Support Mental Health First Aid

So you’ve got yourself a papercut at work. Let me guess, you know exactly who the first aider is and what you’ve got to do to get yourself a plaster. But what about if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or going through a trauma at home? Who do you turn to in the workplace then?

The fact is mentors in the workplace are becoming the the mental health first aiders that employees need.

Mental health first aid is nothing new. It’s a national scheme that teaches everyone how to help a person experiencing a mental health problem. But increasingly these problems are happening in the workplace.

In a 2017 study by Business in the Community it was reported that three out of five employees have experienced mental health issues because of work.

It’s not a precondition, work is making people ill.

With this in mind, more employers are seeking to introduce a workplace mentor that can support employees in both their professional and personal capacity. And here’s exactly why there are critical benefits.

Three people sit around a table talking and working with a laptop in front of them.

Balance vs. Harmony

Work is no longer about leaving your emotions at the door. In order for us to thrive and be our best selves in the workplace, we need to feel comfortable in bringing our whole selves to work. Warts and all.

The adage of work-life balance is wrong, because it separates the two, when in reality the two should be joined in matrimony rather than be seen as two different entities.

Mentors traditionally offer this safe space space and provide harmony, by allowing employees to discuss any difficulties they are facing in a safe, private and comfortable environment. Work and life is one, and they can be discussed.

Two women laughing and smiling during workplace mentoring session.

A Non Judgemental 3rd Party

Only one third of employees are comfortable talking with their manager about mental health issues.

From experience, managers either feel unsure of what to do with their employees, or employees are too concerned that sharing a problem with colleagues will lead to stigma, or even worse, thrown around as office gossip.

When you put these situations together it’s difficult for employers to know how to support employees.

This where a 121 workplace mentor can be the discreet third party. Alleviating leaders of the stresses and pressures of not knowing what to do, and offering a solid support in the workplace.

When you have a partner such as this in-house it can immediately create a positive impact on employees mental health because they feel supported in the workplace and know where to turn in times of need, rather than feeling helpless.

As a mentor is already secured in the workplace mental health first aid is readily accessible to employees.

Find out more about my 121 Employee Mentoring.


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.