RedArc, the nurse-led health and wellbeing support service is reminding employers and insurers to ensure they have adequate provision in place for those who support others with mental health issues. This includes a wide range of people from those who have caring responsibilities at home for family or friends, as well as those who have workplace roles including Mental Health First Aiders and employees who have mental health-related responsibilities.
Christine Husbands, commercial director, RedArc said: “Supporting people with mental health issues can be a rewarding experience but it can also take a significant toll on the individual themselves. While it is right that the primary focus is usually on those with the mental health issues themselves, this World Mental Health Day, it’s important to take a moment to recognise the potential strain that those who provide support often experience.”
Those who provide support for people with mental health often feel reluctant to ask for help. In fact, RedArc’s experience shows that many individuals who provide mental health support do not identify as carers and so they do not recognise that they might need support until their situation becomes untenable. Similarly, those who provide mental health support in a workplace setting may have volunteered or applied for the role, perhaps as a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and therefore, may feel that they should be able to cope. They may not feel comfortable or feel justified in asking for support for themselves.
Support from professionally trained professionals is available for those who provide mental health support via insurance policies, employee benefits, and directly. This can comprise a variety of different measures including facilitated group reflective practice for MHFAs, structured counselling, talking therapies as well as the provision of reading materials, or signposting to specialist national and local charities or self-help groups. However, in many cases, mental health supporters benefit most from having a dedicated professional who can listen actively and confidentially to the concerns of the carer and give long-term support and guidance.
Christine Husbands concluded: “Mental health doesn’t discriminate and so anyone could find themselves in a position of supporting another person with their mental health, whether or not they have been trained to do so. It’s therefore important that the availability of mental health support is promoted to help anyone who might need it.
“Individuals also need to make full use of the support that is on offer to them to ensure they in turn can provide the best possible support to others.”