On 17 January 2019, MPs from all parties discussed the importance of Mental Health First Aid, and putting it on an equal footing to physical first aid, in the workplace.
Following a debate held in Parliament on legislative change around mental health first aid in the workplace, a cross party group of MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion to introduce legislation to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing through First Aid regulations.
MPs from across the five main political parties spoke in support of the issue as part of a Backbench Business Committee debate, with all recognising the importance of addressing the need for improved first aid support in the workplace. The motion was tabled by a cross-party trio of MPs including Luciana Berger MP (Lab), Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) and Jonny Mercer MP (Con). The speaker concluded at the end of the debate that the ayes had it, signalling the majority view that First Aid regulations need to be updated to ensure that mental health is treated equally to physical health in the workplace.
The ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ campaign was launched in May 2018 by mental health campaigners and over 200,000 members of the public showed their support for the campaign by signing a petition, which was delivered to 10 Downing Street in October.
This debate is an important step forward in promoting mental health and well-being, de-stigmatising mental health and re-shaping mental ill-health in the public imagination. Organisations that have already worked with mind//shift to make mental health first aid available in their workplace are already benefitting from the cultural change it can promote.