UK healthcare provider, Vita Health Group (@vitahealthuk), has launched a unique course to help improve and equalise access to mental health support for workers across the UK.

The Mental Health Advocacy course has been designed by a team of experienced clinicians for all types of workers across the UK, including small businesses, employees at SMEs, consultants and the self-employed. Delegates will learn to recognise and positively respond to the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions, and effectively guide their colleagues and co-workers towards the right support.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem of poor mental health amongst employees, the self-employed, and sole traders. In fact, four in five small business owners report experiencing common symptoms of poor mental health at least a few times a year, according to research. However, just under half of those have never accessed mental health support during their lives.

Mental Health Advocacy aims to help equalise access to mental health support and is a CPD accredited course which qualifies for 10 hrs CPD points.

Vita Health Group has launched the course ahead of World Mental Health Day, which takes place on Sunday 10 October, and will this year highlight “mental health in an unequal world”.

Mental Health Advocacy is the only course in the UK to tackle mental health considering the COVID-19 pandemic and ensures learning is targeted around the anxieties of current affairs and societal challenges.

During the two-day course, delegates will also learn how to understand their own boundaries and limitations and how to look after their own wellbeing when supporting others.

Mark Armour, Director of Corporate Health at Vita Health Group, says:

“The need for mental wellbeing in our workplaces no matter the size has never been greater. This course encourages people on the ground in our workplaces to be able to spot the signs of the most common conditions associated with mental ill health and then help to support their colleagues, co-workers and even clients who might be suffering. We recognise that access to mental health remains unequal and we hope this course will ensure more people are able to enjoy good mental health.”

The course - which will be delivered virtually but will transition to face-to-face at a later date - will be run by experienced clinicians and will focus on the more common conditions that delegates are most likely to experience within their workplaces including stress, anxiety and depression, suicide and eating disorders. Vita Health Group has made the decision not to cover more serious conditions like schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder, as they tend to be less common.

Mental Health Advocacy will be led by Tom Bivins, head of ergonomics and wellbeing at Vita Health Group.

Bivins said:

During the course, we teach delegates to recognise what things in their workplace might contribute to stress and poor mental health, such as the volume and degree of control employees have on their work, and company culture and policies. Identifying the things at work that could cause mental ill health is a good way to prevent problems happening in the first place. Delegates will understand what the key risk factors are, and what could be done to better control them. Ultimately, it is the proactive and preventative approach combined that makes Mental Health Advocacy unique.

“Mental Health Advocacy is a course that is available to everyone who works in the UK, including sole traders, SMEs and consultants. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to partake in mental health training, no matter their job title, size of business or work setup. We hope that the accessibility of this course empowers people to take control of their own destiny when it comes to mental health and help those close to them too.”

Courses can either be booked on an individual basis, per delegate or by a company to train up to 12 employees. All group training settings will consist of a maximum of 12 delegates to ensure more interaction and support for all trainees even if an individual booking is made.

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