All the barbers at Murdock London salons are Mental Health First Aiders, helping both team members and clients be aware of their mental health and offering support. So, what is a Mental Health First Aider and how can you get involved in your own business?
“A Mental Health First Aider is someone who has been trained to listen and identify that someone is maybe not feeling themselves, or struggling a little with how they’re feeling,” explains master barber Ben Vowles. “The support we can give is obviously limited as we aren't therapists, but we can listen, let them know they're in a safe non-judgemental place, and if you have a good relationship, you can steer them towards the appropriate help without telling them outright what to do. Naturally it's easier to identify if someone's feeling a little off if you know them well or if they're a regular client. I ask how they are and if they want to open up a little then great, but it's also important to respect boundaries if they don't.”
Ben’s advice for listening and supporting team members and clients…
- Don’t be a therapist. Be an ear for someone who may be nervous to open up but is comfortable enough to mention things to you and steer them in the right direction.
- Don't force anything and allow the person to make their own decisions on what to do next.
- The role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace isn’t to solve their problems but to be a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. You can be there from having an initial conversation for them to talk it through, to supporting the person to get appropriate help.