By Les Morris
The pandemic’s harmful effect on mental health has been well-documented. So, too, has the “Great Resignation,” forcing remaining employees to take on more and different roles. Now, as people return physically to the job, the workplace is fertile ground for evidence of mental stress.
All of which makes Invest Hamilton County’s employer mental health education initiative, Mental Health First Aid, more critical than ever. The one-day course is designed to teach employers to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.
“We know that one of the most important relationships when it comes to mental health is that of the employee and his or her supervisor,” said Mike Thibideau, vice president of workforce strategy for Invest Hamilton County. “We also want to equip workplaces to recognize mental health problems and be equipped to provide assistance.”
The next session of Mental Health First Aid is April 19 at the Bridgewater Club. Registration is limited to 30 people. Two trainers from Mental Health America of Indiana train 15 people in two classes.
The initial Mental Health First Aid training day was conducted last month at the Fishers Community Foundation Building. Thibideau said the feedback was very positive.
“We can see in our registration numbers that this is top-of-mind for our businesses right now,” he said.
Christina Stenske, a human resources administrator at Noblesville’s Metro Plastics Technologies, attended the training and was impressed.
“I would recommend this training for those that need that extra boost of confidence to be able to assist and help someone with any mental illness or even to understand the resources available,” she said.
The plan is to offer the training four times a year through 2023. The series is organized through the collaboration of the Noblesville and Westfield chambers of commerce and OneZone. Registration is through each organization’s website. Financial resources have been provided via the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding by the Hamilton County Council and Hamilton County Commissioners. The Hamilton County Community Foundation has also provided support.