Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), the leading provider of mental health workplace training, has today released figures which demonstrate a significant increase in spend by UK employers on mental health awareness training.  The company has reported a 400 per cent increase in business spending on MHFA Workplace training since the start of this financial year. These figures are released in the wake of a new report, published by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and King’s College London, which reveals the cost of mental health to businesses across Europe at a substantial £77 billion.

MHFA is the mental health equivalent of physical First Aid and teaches participants how to spot the signs and symptoms of a range of mental health conditions and the correct course of action to assist someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. Evidence shows that early intervention strategies are effective in supporting a more positive recovery for the person who is experiencing a mental health problem, often resulting in a speedier return to work.

Poppy Jaman, CEO for MHFA England commented on the findings of the LSE’s report and said: As shocking as these findings are, they come as no surprise to our organisation which is dealing daily with UK employers who are waking up to the impact that mental ill health has on the bottom line of their businesses. In this financial year alone, we have delivered £100,000 worth of Workplace MHFA training to some very large employers, each of which is putting mental health firmly on the wellbeing agenda. We expect this figure to rise considerably in the next five years, as more and more UK businesses adopt a proactive approach to nurturing the mental health of their employees.”

Professor Martin Knapp, one of the lead analysts on the LSE report said. “According to the World Health Organisation, depression has become the leading cause of disability worldwide and has significant economic consequences,

“Despite a lot of publicity surrounding mental illness, it is worrying to see that there is still a major stigma associated with depression and many employers are not dealing with it adequately.”

Ms Jaman supports this view and commented: “Conditions such as anxiety and depression are experienced by one in six British workers at any one time but their fear of discrimination often prevents them from accessing help and support early on. The fear surrounding mental ill health and the misunderstanding around recovery is one of the biggest barriers for creating mentally fit workplaces.

“We are very used to knowing what to do when someone is physically unwell but it comes to mental health it’s very different because most people feel unequipped. Line managers and workplaces should be able to automatically signpost someone to the right interventions if they recognise some of the signs and symptoms of poor mental health. But that can only be done if the culture of the workplace is set up in a way where good mental health is promoted. This is where Mental Health First Aid can help.”

MHFA England, a Community Interest Company, was established in 2009 and in 2013 launched a training product which is aimed specifically at employers, from SME’s through to large corporations. MHFA Workplace can be developed to suit the needs of each individual employer, tailoring its approach to the culture and structure of each organisation.

MHFA England is also one of the founding members of the City Mental Health Alliance, launched in October of last year. Members of the alliance include: Aon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Clifford Chance, Deloitte, Freshfields, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Lend Lease, Linklaters, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, PwC and Slaughter and May. The principle aim of the CMHA is to create a culture where mental wellbeing is nurtured as part of good business practice in the City.

Over 65,000 people in the UK are now MHFA trained and have been taught to:

  • Spot the early signs of a mental health problem
  • Feel confident helping a person experiencing a problem
  • Provide help on a first aid basis
  • Help protect a person who might be at risk of harm
  • Help prevent a mental health problem from getting worse
  • Help a person recover faster
  • Guide a person towards the right support
  • Reduce the stigma of mental health problems

For further information about MHFA Workplace training visit: