We all know the importance of mental health at work, but it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving the mental health of our employees or colleagues. That’s why we need mental health champions in the workplace, who are committed to promoting good mental health and helping others to do the same.

But what is a mental health champion? Why are they vital in the workplace? How can you become one? Our experts answer all of these questions and more throughout the rest of this handy guide.

What is a Mental Health Champion?

Mental health champions are individuals who dedicate themselves to improving mental health awareness and education in their communities. They may work in a variety of settings, such as schools, workplaces, or healthcare organisations. Though many individuals may champion mental health, certified Mental Health Champions will have completed a comprehensive MHFA Champions Training, to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to lead and educate others about mental health.

Mental health champions play a critical role in increasing mental health awareness and education in their work communities. Champions work to create a culture where people feel comfortable talking about mental health at work and seeking help when needed. They also provide support and resources to those who are struggling with mental health issues, and help to promote positive mental health practices.

What are the key skills and qualities of a good mental health champion?

Choosing the right members of your workforce to train as mental health champions is essential to the success of your initiative. Here are some key skills and qualities to look for when selecting mental health champions:

  • An interest in mental health and willingness to support those with mental health issues at work.
  • Desire to learn and keep up-to-date with the latest research and developments around mental health.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to provide support and resources to those who need it.
  • Compassion and empathy.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Ability to think strategically.

What Do Mental Health Champions Do at Work?

In the workplace, mental health champions play a key role. They provide support to employees who may be struggling with mental ill-health and work to create a positive work environment where employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health. Mental Health Champions also work to increase mental health awareness and education among employees, reducing mental health stigma and creating a more empathic workforce.

Mental health champions at work may do a variety of things, such as:

  • Create and distribute educational materials on mental health.
  • Develop a wellbeing strategy or utilise wellbeing initiatives to encourage employees to take care of their mental health.
  • Speak about mental health at company events or during staff meetings.
  • Provide one-on-one support to employees who are struggling with mental health issues and ensure they understand their rights and any adjustments they are entitled to.

The Importance of Championing Mental Health at Work

With 88% of those diagnosed with a mental health issue reporting to have felt stressed, overwhelmed or had trouble coping in the workplace according to the Mental Health Foundation, championing mental health in the workplace is important for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, it helps employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health at work and seeking help when needed. This can lead to earlier recognition and treatment of mental health issues, which can improve overall employee productivity and well-being.

Alongside the obvious employee benefits of better workplace wellbeing and productivity, this may also benefit the company as a whole. By investing in mental health training for your business, you can reduce any costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism, plus improve staff retention rates.

Mental health champions also send a positive message to the wider community that your company is taking mental health seriously. This can promote wellbeing on a wider scale, improve your company’s reputation and help attract talent to your business.

Who Can Become a Mental Health Champion?

Anyone with a passion for mental health can become a Mental Health Champion. By training as a Mental Health Champion, you can learn the basics of how to identify and support someone with a mental health problem and be part of a wider network of champions who are working to improve mental health awareness.

If you’re an employer, choosing someone to become your workplace Mental Health Champion is a good way to show your commitment to improving mental health in the workplace. Alternatively, if you are an individual who is passionate about mental health, you can reach out to your workplace and offer to become their champion.

Anyone can become a mental health champion, and there are a number of ways you can contribute to improving mental health in your workplace. If you are interested in becoming a Mental Health Champion, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Discuss training to become a certified Mental Health Champion with your workplace.
  2. Become involved in workplace initiatives to improve mental health.
  3. Educate yourself on the latest research, wellbeing strategies and developments around mental health.
  4. Share your personal experiences with mental health if you feel comfortable doing so.

How To Support Mental Health Champions in Your Workplace

If you want to see Mental Health Champions succeed in your workplace, it’s important to provide the training and resources that will help them learn about mental health and understand how to support those with mental health issues, alongside their own wellbeing.

Our expert accredited MHFA Champions training is an internationally recognised course that teaches employees how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness or mental health issues in the workplace. The course provides Mental Health Champions with the skills and knowledge they need to support those who may be struggling and offers a greater understanding of mental health in the workplace.

If your workplace is interested in training Mental Health Champions, Great Minds at Work have the perfect course for you.

From full Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to Mental health Awareness courses, we have a range of courses that will help your workplace create a more mentally healthy environment. Contact us today.