Awareness days, weeks and months have helped to familiarise people all over the world with the term “Mental Health First Aid”. Now, first aid retailer FirstAid.co.uk reports a 260% uplift in interest for MHFA products on their site, noting that an increase in work-related stress, depression and anxiety cases each year is the most likely driving force.
The retailer has now sold more Mental Health First Aid items this year so far than everyday travel and motoring first aid kits.
Data from the Health and Safety Executive shows that cases of work-related ill health (of which 50% are stress, depression and anxiety) have risen almost 28% since 2015, despite physical injuries being in decline since 2000.
Their data also shows that 820,000 people in Great Britain suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2021, compared to 441,000 people who sustained a physical injury at work.
“According to Mental Health First Aid England, one in six people of working age in the UK is experiencing symptoms of mental ill health at any given time.” Says Mike Thakoordin, MHFA Instructor and Suicide First Aid Associate at FirstAid.co.uk. “We know that around 81% of employers have increased their focus on employee mental health since the pandemic began, and it is fair to say that awareness days and events are doing their part to sustain that focus.
“During the first week of Stress Awareness Month in April we had an 85% increase in the number of people visiting our stress-related products compared to 2021, and we’re anticipating a similar surge between Suicide Prevention Day in September and World Mental Health Day in October as individual and business shoppers research items and guidance that can support those who are struggling.”
While events and awareness days like these play a big part in the ongoing rise in interest around mental health-related products online, it’s the persisting growth in the number of people struggling with poor mental health that is likely the bigger factor at play. Despite several years of employers saying they’re taking mental health more seriously, the reality is that a huge number of people each year still find themselves with too much work, not enough rest, workplace politics issues and concerns over job security – among other things.
“For several years running now, the HSE has reported an increase in the number of people taken ill by work-related stress, depression and anxiety.” Thakoordin goes on to say. “Poor workplace mental health has knock-on effects in many other areas, and we hope that this increase in people shopping for MHFA materials translates into a greater number of workplaces offering meaningful, consistent support.
“With the 2-day Mental Health First Aid course recently being updated, now is the time to get enrolled and play your part in making workplaces safer from a mental health perspective.”
For information on how to recognise stress in the workplace, and advice on dealing with stress,
visit FirstAid’s Stress In The Workplace page.
This article was written in collaboration with First Aid.co.uk