In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people have felt the sting of mental ill-health; the old expression ‘leave your problems at the door’ has become even more challenging as a guiding principle of professionalism. Thousands have discovered that the principle is, in fact, unworkable as their feelings and anxieties have continued to mull over into their nine-to-five.

Although, as millions return to their workplaces and commute their emotional baggage into the office, how can workplaces help process that baggage? How can we support colleagues who may be at a point of crisis? And what role can employers have in the promotion of positive mental health?

New training could provide the answer to tackling workplace ill-health

St John Ambulance is calling on employers to be part of the solution to the mental health impact of Covid-19, as they launch a range of new courses on how to talk about mental health with employees and colleagues.

Beginning on July 19th, the new half-day courses, taught online and face-to-face, will train line managers and mental health first aiders to spot signs that a staff member may be struggling, begin a conversation on mental health, and, importantly, how to support them.

The training will highlight the many mental health aspects of Covid-19, such as bereavement, physical illness, financial hardship, and isolation, and the course will explore the unequal impact of the pandemic, as well as the negative coping strategies many people have developed.

Andrew New, head of education and training products at St John, said:

“As people return to work after the pandemic, or indeed if they continue to work from home, employers really need to grasp the nettle and make sure they create an environment where people feel understood and supported if they’re struggling.”

"Having these types of supportive conversations is not easy, and we sensed there was a real urgency for managers and existing mental health first aiders to be trained in this area. Building on our experience as the nation's leading first aid trainer, we've designed really practical courses that will give delegates the confidence and competence to support mental health in their workplace."

The launch of the new courses come after a recent St John survey, which found that eight in ten workers feel that mental health has worsened or has become more varied during the pandemic, and nearly nine in ten were concerned about a colleagues mental health.

The survey also revealed that one in four people had left a job due to mental health issues prompted by Covid-19, up from one in five on the previous year. And almost half said employers should do more to support their wellbeing.