• Jonathan Pittam

Why you need a dedicated mental health first aid portal

Updated: 2 days ago


Painful


I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate going into the shop TK Maxx. I avoid it like the plague as it’s my idea of hell in there. It feels disorderly, chaotic and a real faff.


I like things to be tidy, simple and easy to use, and TK Maxx fails on all three of those in my opinion. Sorting through a hundred or so items to get the one I want isn’t my idea of pleasure!


Compare that to a store like Argos who’ve taken clarity and simplicity to another level. They’ve removed all of the noise and finding what you want and buying it couldn’t be easier. I love a good trip to Argos me...


Don’t make life more difficult


Most people wanting to access your mental health first aid service are going to be experiencing struggles, so it seems obvious that we don’t want to add to them. Clouded thinking, inability to concentrate and low patience could be some of an employee’s current challenges, and a clunky, complicated and faffy mental health first aid portal might turn away the very people you want to stick around.


Lots of hoops to jump through, along with unclear processes make for the type of experience many won’t want to experience again, and also the type that employees will tell their friends about. After all, we don’t tend to keep it to ourselves when we have a poor service experience do we?


Makeshift or make an effort?


Whilst not every organisation has the budget to set up an all singing all dancing mental health first aid portal, its importance can’t be underestimated. When mapping out the budget at the project’s inception this is an essential cost to be factored in, as the whole success could rest on it.


Some organisations opt for a PDF document available online, some use Microsoft Teams as an info storage hub, and some add vast intimidating blocks of text to their company intranet.


Whilst well-meaning, you have to remind yourself in these situations, is your objective to just get something out there, or is it to create something that works for everybody?


What should it look like?


The most important ingredients a mental health first aid portal needs are the following:

  • CEO/MD video explaining your reason ‘WHY’ (why you set up MHFA)

  • List of your mental health first aiders (picture, name, contact details)

  • Video profile of each mental health first aider

  • Ticketing system to request a call

  • Explanation of the logistics of the service (where, how long, method etc)

  • Additional resources (Eg: Samaritans number, useful videos)

  • Testimonials from people who’ve used the service

That’s it really, it doesn’t have to be Disneyland. It’s important that it’s also available offline, as there may be instances where people need to access it but don’t have internet access.


Link it to what's already familiar


If you already have a general mental health and wellbeing portal adding this to it will seem like a very logical extension. Rather than staff having to search and find something new, if they’re already used to finding your mental health portal using this will just require an additional click. Capitalise on what’s already habitual.


Keep it stupidly simple


So, remember, the clearer and simpler you can keep things the less work and obstacles you place in front of an employee who might have a head full of struggles. By making it a helpful and user-friendly experience you increase the chance they’ll use it again, and also tell others about their pleasant experience...


Jonathan Pittam

Mental Health Educator