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"If I can contribute by being a Mental Health First Aider – then I’m happy and proud to do so"

Thanks to our partnership with St John Ambulance, there are trained Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) in each of our operational sites. Washington Supervisor, Glenn Crake, details his experience as part of Mental Health Awareness Week:

I was delighted to get involved when Vaultex introduced the role, as I was also a Mental Health First Aider at my previous place of work. I have now been a MHFA for over three years at Vaultex. As Mental Health First Aiders, we’re there to offer help to people at varying stages of their mental health journey; whether they’re in the process of developing an issue, suffering worsening symptoms or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Being a MHFA is very rewarding but also challenging at times. However, it provides you with a great sense of pride and satisfaction knowing you can help an individual looking for support – be it in their work, homelife or both.

Throughout my time as a MHFA I have been approached by numerous people with all kinds of worries or issues. Statistics show that one in four people experience at least one diagnosable mental health issue each calendar year. The thing to remember is that no matter the reason for someone to seek your advice or help, it’s of enough importance for them to have taken the brave step of talking to someone else about it. I have always taken the view that there are no large or small problems when it comes to mental health issues. If a subject matter is so upsetting or concerning to that person then it’s a big deal, irrelevant of the perceived scale of the problem to anyone else.

The well-known phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ isn’t a cliché, it is actually very true. To hear another person’s thoughts and opinions on an issue can help people come to terms with what’s bothering them and enlighten the path towards finding a solution. At the very least, it lightens the burden of carrying an issue on their own.

Mental health is being talked about more and more these days and that is a good thing. Talking to someone is the first step to finding help, and perhaps, the most important one. It is also the hardest one to take! That’s why being Mental Health First Aider fills me with such pride as I appreciate how difficult it might have been for someone to make that first contact.

I am trained to identify the signs and symptoms of a range of mental health conditions. But more than that, the role is a supportive one built on trust, confidentiality, and total non-judgement. I always welcome and empathise with anyone who comes to see me and, whilst I’m not trained in actual treatments, I use every skill I have to try to ensure that optimism is restored at the end of a conversation.

I’m fortunate to work for an organisation that not only acknowledges the seriousness of mental wellbeing, but also provide the resources to support their people. If I can contribute by being a first port of call for my colleagues and signpost them to places if they need additional help – then I’m happy and proud to do so.