Council sets up mental health first aid support network

WMHD Group

Four first aiders, from left to right, Senior Strategic Growth Officer Damien Cutting, Project co-ordinator Mark Ashton,  Anita Kiernan, Commissioning Support Officer, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Commissioning Team NHS Trafford CCG, and Viktorija Ozogova, Emotional Wellbeing Worker

Trafford Council has introduced a new support service for staff with the launch of a Mental Health First Aid Network.

The Network is made up of Mental Health First Aiders from the Council and NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group who act as a point of contact for staff experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

The 19 volunteer first aiders are listed on the Council and CCG’s intranet system and staff can book an appointment with the volunteer of their choice. The initiative was launched on World Mental Health Day, Thursday 10 October, as part of the Council’s EPIC You – Employee Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Based in a variety of teams within the Town Hall, Sale Waterside and Partington Health Centre, the Mental Health First Aiders can give staff initial support and point them to appropriate help if required. 

Trafford Council Senior Strategic Growth Officer Damien Cutting, aged 38, signed up to be a Mental Health First aider the minute he found out about the initiative. He said:

I thought it would be a really good opportunity for colleagues to have someone to talk to at a time of need. It is all about developing a network of help across the council for staff who need someone to talk to at a distressing time.”

Fellow Mental Health First aider, Project co-ordinator Mark Ashton, aged 57, said:

It’s good that the local authority is leading the way to change the culture in a work environment, and showing that it’s okay to not be okay.

I think the Mental Health First Aid Network is a great idea and ultimately is there to help people who are struggling with a mental health issue or emotional distress.”

Cllr Jane Slater, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Equalities, said:

The Council and CCG’s Mental Health First Aid Network is a fantastic initiative to help staff who are struggling with mental health issues.

It means colleagues can contact a team member and get the help they need by the click of a button. It is all confidential and will give help to colleagues who feel they can talk more openly with a colleague.

The Council already supports staff with its ‘Offload’ Mental Fitness Programme which offers innovative mental wellbeing sessions in the workplace."

Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019