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Meet the UKFast Mental Health First Aiders

9 November 2020 by Laura Valentine

MHFA training

Our MHFA training session, held before lockdown restrictions.

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a tough year all round. At UKFast we’re particularly missing being together in the office; the corridor chats and a good old catch-up while making a cuppa. The pandemic has taken its toll on the nation’s collective mental health, leaving many feeling anxious, isolated and unsure where to turn for help.  

We recently held a training session, accredited by MHFA Englandand we’re now proud to have 13 UKFast Mental Health First Aiders on hand to support our teams and provide a listening ear.  

The impact of the pandemic 

Covid-19 has had a huge effect on the UK, not least of all in the way its affected our mental health. During the first peak, one in five adults were experiencing some form of depression, which is double pre-pandemic levels.  

The situation has left many people not only isolated, but also worried about money and anxious about the health of themselves and their loved onesYoung adults have been disproportionately affected, with third of 16-39 year olds experiencing a moderate to severe effect on their mental health as a result of the pandemic.  

According to ONS figures, over half of UK adults have reported feeling lonely or as if theyre spending too much time alone. With teams forced to work remotely where possible, it’s clear that, as a nation, we’re all missing the human connection of our usual workplace. 

What do MHFA do? 

MHFA England aims to improve the nation’s mental health. Providing training to individuals and organisations across the UK, they’re passionate about removing the stigmas relating to mental health. By encouraging conversations and understanding, MHFA empower people to bring their whole selves to work, creating a society where everyone’s mental health matters.  

MHFA England’s qualified instructors are on a mission to train one in ten people, raising awareness of mental health issues, how to notice the signs, how to listen without judgement and where to signpost for additional support when required.  

With many people spending at least a third of their time at work, access to a mental health first aider within the workplace can make a real difference.  

UKFast mental health first aiders 

Our newly trained mental health first aiders are the first point of call for any UKFaster that just needs someone to talk to. Whether they’re feeling a little lonely, missing the chatter of the office or struggling with anxiety or depression, our teams can give any of our 13 MHFAs a call.  

Confidentiality is key and anything discussed is kept completely private so all UKFasters can rest assured that there’s a safe space to discuss how they’re feeling, with someone who understands.  

Our MHFAs come from all walks of life, with their own reasons for choosing to volunteer for the programme. They represent several departments from across the business, meaning when a colleague needs someone to talk to, it’s easy to contact a MHFA that works in a different area – which helps if they’d like to talk to someone they don’t work closely with.  

Not just for now 

While having this additional support on hand is more important than ever during the pandemic, we know mental health issues come and go all the time. We can’t wait until we’re all back together at UKFast HQ, but even when we are, our mental health first aiders will continue to be available – in person or over the phone.  

Interested in becoming part of the UKFast family?