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Mental health first aiders

Hello, I’m Ibrahim Dogus and I am a Labour Councillor and deputy mayor of Lambeth.

Since the 1970s, the UK has had health and safety legislation which protects people at work from injury or harm.

Part of the law insists on a designated First Aider who can help with workplace injuries. We’re used to seeing a First Aider in the office, factory, warehouse or wherever.

But what about mental health?

In our modern working environment, people’s mental health can suffer. Work can cause stress, anxiety, or depression.

All too often people feel unable to talk about their mental health. There is still a stigma in talking about mental health.

But we know that talking about mental health, and getting the right kind of help and support in good time, is one of the best ways of tackling poor mental health.

That’s why I support the Time to Talk initiative which encourages people at work to be open and share their experiences.

But in recent years, there’s been another initiative which I want to tell you about.

Mental Health First Aiders are people at work who have had training in mental health support. They are the contact point for anyone wanting to talk about their mental health. They can signpost their colleagues towards mental health services. They can spot the early warning signs of mental illness in the workplace and push for improvements in conditions.

Lots of big companies in London have started to adopt mental health first aiders. I want to see local authorities and SMEs to do the same, and I am starting a conversation with council leaders and business owners about how they can get mental health first aider.

They will never be a substitute for decent mental health services, but they can prevent mental ill health from getting worse, and intervene early to help people.

It’s a great scheme, it makes perfect sense, and it can do a lot of good,

So let’s get behind mental health first aiders across Lambeth.

As a local Lambeth Labour councillor, I am interested in your views about any issue that concerns you. Please get in contact