"How are you feeling today?"
It might seem like a simple question, but for some people, this five-word question can shift their mood, change their day, and maybe even save their life.
Mental Health First Aid is about exactly that – changing and saving lives by connecting with someone and asking seemingly simple questions that offer a lifeline, a gateway into a conversation about how they are really feeling.
For some people, this might be the first time they have been asked for days, or weeks, and while often people put on a brave face, some people are having a really, excruciatingly bad day, and that question, or one like it, might be the turning point to a better day – or life.
This is one of the many tools taught in the Mental Health First Aid program, which is designed to train everyday people how to recognise the signs associated with a mental health problem. Fernwood Fitness wholeheartedly believes in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, and now has more than 300 MHFA accredited staff members at its women’s health clubs across Australia, ready to ask the questions that save and change women’s lives every day.
Reaching this latest milestone of over 300 accreditations, alongside a number of other workplace activities, has resulted in Fernwood achieving the celebrated MHFA Gold Skilled Workplace Award, an honour and privilege. Fernwood has infinite praise for all the remarkable people within the Fernwood community who have put their hand up to say, ‘I want to do more to support women’s health and wellbeing’.
“We want to say a huge thank you to all these men and women in our community. They have dedicated time and energy to equip themselves with the tools and the knowledge to engage in what can sometimes be difficult, unsettling and upsetting conversations, with the goal of changing someone else’s life for the better,” says Fernwood Fitness Founder Diana Williams.
“We are so unbelievably humbled by the willingness of the staff in our community who have put themselves forward to complete the MHFA training in the hopes of improving the holistic health and wellbeing of women across the country.
“We know these conversations can change lives, and I am incredibly proud of every single one of the staff members in our community – from head office to our beautiful clubs – who want to do what they can to make this world a kinder place to be.”
This gold badge of honour is awarded to workplaces who achieve a minimum of eight key actions across set criteria. This latest award has simply increased the momentum at Fernwood to continue moving forward in the mental health and wellness space.
“We want to lift the bar even higher, so to speak, and we are now well on the way to increasing our accreditations, with our current focus on bringing the MHFA training to our Fernwood community. In the very near future, we are planning to offer MHFA training to our members and the wider community,” Fernwood Wellness, Training and Development Manager and Accredited MHFA Instructor Emma Robertson says.
“MHFA can and does save lives. We have seen this first hand in our Fernwood communities across Australia in the two years we have been delivering these trainings. We are here to empower women to shine and I love that we are able to do this in a much bigger way with MHFA.”
"We award the MHFA Gold Skilled Workplace badge to workplaces who achieve a minimum of eight key actions across a broad set criteria," says Dr Kathy Bond, MHFA Workplace Engagement Manager. "We congratulate Fernwood on achieving gold status and recognise their commitment to creating a mentally healthy environment for their members."
Emma Robertson recently explored in-depth discussions around the topic of mental health with Mental Health First Aid Workplace Engagement Manager Kathy Bond on our Women Supporting Women blog. Check it out.